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Slugs

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smiley_face
201841.  Sun Aug 19, 2007 4:45 pm Reply with quote

Seeing as they haven't yet been given their own thread, and my garden has been invaded by at least 56 of them, I thought I'd start one on slugs. That, and the fact that they are just such alien creatures, both in terms of their appearance and physiology.



(One of the many slugs who invaded our back garden. I believe it is a variant of the black slug. When not doubled up, these are between 8 and 10 cm long, but do stretch quite a lot.)

Anyway, slugs are really quite interesting, and quite repulsive. Their basic designed has evolved independently several times, making them a "polyphyletic" group. Another example of a polyphyletic group is that of warm blooded animals. Both birds and mammals are warm blooded, but evolved independently from a common cold-blooded ancestor.

They only have one lung, and breath through their pneumostomes, little air holes in the sides of their mantle, at a rate of about one breath every two minutes. In the picture above, the pneumostome is the little grey circle about a sixth of the way down the body.

The slug's mantle is the area above the body of the slug, which looks rather like a saddle. On the image above, it is the smooth, unpatterned area. Underneath this are the slug's anus and genital opening. (Snails are hermaphrodite. More on that later).

Slug, like snails, have two pairs of tentacles. The top pair detect light and the lower pair detect smell.

Most slugs are carnivorous and will eat carrion, even of their own species, and some are even predators (such as the leopard slug, which is featured in the picture linked to below, and can eat small animals such as worms.)

A bit gross, just to warn you.

Anyway, back to slug sex. Slugs are neither male nor female - they carry both sex's genitalia. Once they have found a mate, they encircle each other, exchange sperm via their protruding genitalia, and bam! several days later, about 30 slug eggs are laid.

Another practice performed by slugs is that of apophallation, whereby the mating pair chews off each other's penises, often to disentagle themselves from each other, since their corkscrew-shaped penises can become tangled up. Once this occurs, the slug will become female.



The large blue features in the above picture are the slugs' genitalia.

Sources to follow once I sift through my browser's history...

 
grizzly
201850.  Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:17 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Seeing as they haven't yet been given their own thread, and my garden has been invaded by at least 56 of them, I thought I'd start one on slugs


I know this is obvious but still...

You counted them?!?!?!

 
suze
201854.  Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:33 pm Reply with quote

Well what do you think grizzly? Of course she didn't.

She counted the tentacles and divided by four.

 
npower1
201856.  Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:35 pm Reply with quote

Yep,
That was my question also. 56 - why stop counting at 56. Should you have been thinking ahead - at 56 plus n I'll do something different.
(Please read my signature)

 
Hans Mof
202071.  Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:33 am Reply with quote

Arion lusitanicus
This slug, without a common English name yet, is a major pest in continental Europe. Given its origin in the Iberian peninsular it is referred to as Spanish Slug in most European languages. Arion lusistanicus has no specific food requirements and is considered a pest of a wide range of vegetable crops in Europe - including the potato as the natural insecticide 'solanine' is not effective against the snail.

The Indian Runner Duck seems to be all the rage at the moment if it comes to pest control. The bird has a particular liking for slugs and slugs' eggs. What is more, it even gobbles up Arion lusitanicus with great appetite. Other animals seem to avoid the slug for its exceptionally foul mucus.

A German organisation now offers ducks to rent. For 25 you can have two runner ducks deslugging your garden for a week.

 
smiley_face
202074.  Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:38 am Reply with quote

Hans Mof wrote:
A German organisation now offers ducks to rent. For 25 you can have two runner ducks deslugging your garden for a week.

Can you bring some when you next come to England, please?

 
grizzly
202077.  Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:45 am Reply with quote

You can rent hedgehogs in the UK to do the same thing. My Mum, working in a vets, brings wild ones that are going to be released home with her to deslug our garden.

 
pmailkeey
1182087.  Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:25 pm Reply with quote

npower1 wrote:
Yep,
That was my question also. 56 - why stop counting at 56. Should you have been thinking ahead - at 56 plus n I'll do something different.
(Please read my signature)


I reckon that the other 200 bits were used for something else.

 
pmailkeey
1182088.  Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:28 pm Reply with quote

Yesterday I saw a small slug walking pa - WALKING??? - walking past my cats' dishes. I pointed it out to the cat - and the rest, as they say, and the slug were history.


Erm... #GASTROpod !

 
bobwilson
1182102.  Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:12 pm Reply with quote

I found a slug on the floor of my kitchen once. I didn't want to deal with it at the time, so I put a breakfast cereal bowl over it to keep it where it was and went to bed. When I came down the next morning, the cereal bowl was still there but the slug had gone.

Subsequently looking up information on slugs I discovered that they can extend their bodies to 20 times their nominal length enabling them to traverse the smallest holes.

So, if you're thinking of keeping slugs in a box be aware they might slip out of the airholes you generously make for them.

 

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