Arion vulgaris. The best way to tell the two apart is by comparing their internal morphology, primarily the shape of the respective spermatophores. This comparison is also the only definitive way to discern from A. rufus. (Weidema, 2006; Schultes, 2011; Anderson, 2008; Koztowski, 2007)(the Portuguese slug) is a large slug, from 70-150 mm. This species is often a reddish brown, and in some cases a yellowish color. Adults tend to be uniform in color pattern, but juveniles will sometimes have dark bands along their sides. This snail has an obvious respiratory hole (pneumostome) on the right side of the anterior end of the mantle. The foot of has the appearance of a having been stitched on, analogous to a very thick seam. was long misidentified as the Spanish slug,
Three phases of development described forare infantile, juvenile and mature. The infantile phase is from the time of hatching to when the slugs reach sexual maturity. The juvenile phase is defined by copulation and egg laying. As the slugs age and begin laying smaller batches of eggs, they are considered mature.
Eggs laying is temperature dependent and ranges from 2.5 to 3.5 months. Round or oval eggs, 4.2 by 3.5 mm are laid in batches held together by a mucous strand. Hatching is temperature dependent and 54-86% of the eggs will hatch after an average of 40 days (30 to 80 day range). Eggs laid in late September hatch the following spring from mid-March through late April. Juvenile snails usually merge in April through May, with different generations (fall or spring hatching) both present. After mating and after a year of life, the slugs usually die. (Koztowski, 2007)
There is no parental investment after eggs are laid. (Weidema, 2006)
The adult slugs normally die in autumn after reproduction is complete. Mild winters and summers with plenty of rainfall increase the survival of the juveniles that overwinter in compost heaps and soil crevices. On rare occasions, some adults may even survive winters, e.g. an adult specimen was reported to survive winter under protected conditions near a greenhouse wall in Finland. (Weidema, 2006)
The slugs are the most active when the weather is rainy and cloudy or during mornings with moisture on the ground. Activity of the slug is most often observed at night and in the morning, but especially around two to three hours after sunset. Some studies have suggested that each slug behaves differently in terms of home range. Homing behavior, enabled by chemoreceptors that can sense mucus trails, has also been observed. (Grimm and Paill, 2001; Koztowski, 2007)
The slug’s home range is negatively correlated with population density and can vary with weather conditions. Home ranges of 45 square meters have been noted. (Grimm and Paill, 2001)
Copulation requires intraspecific communication. The slug has two types of sensory organs on its head, an olfactory organ and an eye on the end of each tentacle. The olfactory organ is used to detect mucus trails. (Barker, 2001)
is beneficial in the carbon cycle because it can consume a large amount of decaying plant material, and even carcasses.
Angiostrongylus vasorum, the French heartworm, which can sicken or kill wild and domestic canids. has an intricate role in the reproduction and dispersal of the parasite. When the slug feeds on the feces of an infected canid it ingests the nematode's first-stage larvae and acts as the intermediate host. When a healthy canid eats the infected snail the cycle begins again., along with many other gastropods, is often the intermediate host for a variety of parasite species. An example is
That gastropods are easily infected by parasites is sometimes used to control the slug population. Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita is a parasitic nematode that is often embedded in a gel that can be added to water and sprayed onto the areas with slugs. The larvae will disperse in the infective stage and will burrow into the slug. It will move through the slug and reproduce, and cause the slug to reduce its feeding habits dramatically. In about 1-2 weeks, the slug dies from the infection and the worms are released, thereby becoming available to infect other slugs. The full effects of this treatment on the ecosystem are not known. (Conboy, 2000; Ferdushy, et al., 2010; Wilson, et al., 2010)
This species does not have a positive economic importance for humans.
Authors of this Page: Misner, Sandy; and Balog, Laura
Laura Balog (author), Rutgers University, Sandy Misner (author), Rutgers University, David V. Howe (editor), Rutgers University, Renee Mulcrone (editor), Special Projects.
the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
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.
helps break down and decompose dead plants and/or animals
an animal that mainly eats meat
flesh of dead animals.
either directly causes, or indirectly transmits, a disease to a domestic animal
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
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
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
fertilization takes place within the female's body
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
an animal that mainly eats dead animals
breeding is confined to a particular season
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
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).
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
uses sight to communicate
Anderson, R. 2008. "Annotated list of the non-marine mollusca of Britain and Ireland" (On-line pdf). Accessed June 06, 2011 at http://www.conchsoc.org/resources/Anderson-2008.pdf.
Barker, G. 2001. The Biology of Terrestrial Mollusks. New York NY: CABI Publishing.
Conboy, G. 2000. "Canine angiostrongylosis (French heartworm)" (On-line pdf). Companion and Exotic Animal Parasitology. Accessed June 06, 2011 at http://www.ivis.org/advances/Parasit_Bowman/conboy_angiostrongylosis/ivis.pdf.
Ferdushy, T., C. Kapel, P. Webster, M. Al-Sabi, J. Gronvold. 2010. The effect of temperature and host age on the infectivity and development of Angiostrongylus vasorum in the slug Arion lusitanicus. Parasitol Research, 107 (1): 147-151. Accessed June 06, 2011 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20369254.
Grimm, B., W. Paill. 2001. Spatial distribution and home-range of the pest slug Arion lusitanicus (Mollusca: Pulmonata). Acta Oecologica, 22 (4): 219-227.
Koztowski, J. 2007. The distribution, biology, population dynamics and harmfulness of Arion lusitanicus Mabille, 1868 (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Arionidae) in Poland. Journal of Plant Protection Research, 47 (3): 219-230. Accessed June 06, 2011 at http://www.plantprotection.pl/PDF/47(3)/JPPR_47(3)_01_Kozlowski.pdf.
Schultes, F. 2011. "Species summary for Arion lusitanicus" (On-line). AnimalBase. Accessed June 06, 2011 at http://www.animalbase.uni-goettingen.de/zooweb/servlet/AnimalBase/home/species?id=1811.
Weidema, I. 2006. "NOBANIS - Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet - Arion lusitanicus" (On-line pdf). Online Database of the North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species. Accessed June 06, 2011 at http://www.nobanis.org/files/factsheets/Arion_lusitanicus.pdf.
Wilson, M., D. Shapiro-Ilan, R. Gaugler. 2010. "Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita" (On-line). Biological Control, A Guide to Natural Enemies in North America. Accessed June 06, 2011 at http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/ent/biocontrol/pathogens/phasmarhabditis.html.