- Other Geographic Terms
Habitat use by the terrestrial gastropod (Beyer and Saari, 1978)varies seasonally. In fall can be found foraging in moist plant debris and small crevices in the soil. As winter approaches, it usually moves deeper into the soil, returning to the leaf litter in spring. In summer must find adequate shelter to prevent desiccation (Beyer and Saari 1978).
- Habitat Regions
- Terrestrial Biomes
is a terrestrial slug. Like most slugs has a tough body covered in mucus and lacks a visible shell. individuals will have one of four color groups: reddish brown, black, orange or yellow, and lateral or mantle bands may or may not be present (Beyer and Saari, 359).
- Range length
- 5 to 7 cm
- 1.97 to 2.76 in
During copulation slugs exchange sperm through their protruding genitalia. Fertilization is internal, and several days after mating the slug will lay hundreds of eggs in the soil. Most adult slugs die soon after breeding and there is no parental care (Barker 1991).
In Arion and other genera, some individuals engage in apophallation: during sperm transfer male genitalia can become entangled. In such a case, the slugs may bite off each others penises to free themselves. Following apophallation the slug effectively becomes a female and never regains male functioning. (Barker, 1991)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- simultaneous hermaphrodite
- delayed fertilization
- Breeding season
- autumn or spring to late summer
- Average number of offspring
- several dozen
- Range gestation period
- 3 to 4 weeks
Species such as Arion lay their eggs in clusters in the soil. Although the eggs are left alone and there is no parental care, the eggs are chemically protected by a diterpene called miriamin. This chemical is a caustive agent that prevents the eggs from being eaten or damaged (Schroeder et al. 1999). (Schroeder, et al., 1999)that belong to genus
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
Arion slugs generally hatch sometime between autumn and winter. They typically undergo a period of slow growth during winter followed by a period of rapid growth culminating in reproductive maturity. Slugs usually die post reproduction, but this can vary depending on the conditions and geographical location (Barker 1991). (Barker, 1991)is an annual species with a lifespan ranging from 8-12 months.
- Typical lifespan
- 8 to 12 months
- Typical lifespan
Home range is relatively confined because of its generalist feeding habits and avoidance of dessication (Beyer and Saari 1978). (Beyer and Saari, 1978)
Communication and Perception
In general terrestrial gastropods have poor ability to perceive objects by vision, and have little or no auditory perception. The primary sense used in perception is smell. The olfactory organs on a slug are located at the tips of the tentacles. The 4 tentacles can regenerate if they are removed and the olfactory organ will regenerate with it. Slugs also have chemoreceptors to detect toxins. The chemoreceptors are located on the lips. They eyes of the slugs are not primarily for vision. They are thought to be used to perceive light and to set its circadian rhythm (Barker, 2001). (Barker, 2001)
- Communication Channels
- Plant Foods
- Other Foods
is an example of a generalist species and has been found living in woodlands, arable lands, edge habitats, and around human habitations. They can survive in a variety of soils and microhabitats including soil, plant litter and vegetation. As generalist herbivores, slugs could be a major factor in limiting the geographical ranges of plants (Scheidel and Bruelheide, 1999).
Because terrestrial slugs store environmental chemicals in their bodies, these toxic residues may be passed along the food chain and ultimately affect the biodiversity of an ecosystem (Martin, 2000). (Martin, 2000; Scheidel and Bruelheide, 1999)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
- Positive Impacts
- research and education
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Slugs are significant agricultural pests. Given its continued growth in abundance and range, (Frank, 2003)is among the most important slug pests in North America (Frank 2003).
- Negative Impacts
- crop pest
is not listed as endangered, threatened, vulnerable in any part of its range.
Kelly Amanda (author), Rutgers University, Jessica Mazzara (author), Rutgers University, Christen McCoy (author), Rutgers University, Philip Nicodemo (author), Rutgers University, David V. Howe (editor), Rutgers University, Renee Mulcrone (editor), Special Projects.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
active at dawn and dusk
- delayed fertilization
a substantial delay (longer than the minimum time required for sperm to travel to the egg) takes place between copulation and fertilization, used to describe female sperm storage.
an animal that mainly eats decomposed plants and/or animals
particles of organic material from dead and decomposing organisms. Detritus is the result of the activity of decomposers (organisms that decompose organic material).
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
a distribution that more or less circles the Arctic, so occurring in both the Nearctic and Palearctic biogeographic regions.
Found in northern North America and northern Europe or Asia.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
an animal that mainly eats fungus
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
"many forms." A species is polymorphic if its individuals can be divided into two or more easily recognized groups, based on structure, color, or other similar characteristics. The term only applies when the distinct groups can be found in the same area; graded or clinal variation throughout the range of a species (e.g. a north-to-south decrease in size) is not polymorphism. Polymorphic characteristics may be inherited because the differences have a genetic basis, or they may be the result of environmental influences. We do not consider sexual differences (i.e. sexual dimorphism), seasonal changes (e.g. change in fur color), or age-related changes to be polymorphic. Polymorphism in a local population can be an adaptation to prevent density-dependent predation, where predators preferentially prey on the most common morph.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
mature spermatozoa are stored by females following copulation. Male sperm storage also occurs, as sperm are retained in the male epididymes (in mammals) for a period that can, in some cases, extend over several weeks or more, but here we use the term to refer only to sperm storage by females.
living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.
uses sight to communicate
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