Slugfest

Arion subfuscus is common and may be found when conditions are wet and, especially, in the early morning. Slugs are snails. Like other gastropod molluscs they have a shell but theirs is carried internally and has been reduced to just a sliver. Like other land snails, Arion has a pneumostome which allows air to reach the lung. In this image you can see a hint of this feature if you look a third the way down the right side of the mantle (the oval structure which leads from the base of the optic tentacles). I think this is a very pretty animal indeed.

5 thoughts on “Slugfest

  1. That was my thought, too: what good is an inside shell? Thanks for the comment about that. There may be more slugs around here than I’ve realized. I always assumed that the slime trails I see are from snails, but that may not be so.

    I have a friend who lived in Santa Cruz, California for a time. She has a t-shirt that’s emblazoned with the UC-Santa Cruz mascot: the banana slug.

  2. We have been seeing slugs all over the place lately with all this rain. When we walk Bentley we all have to watch our step to not crush any as they travel across the sidewalk to other food sources. They are on plants and even the cover of our plastic compost bin. Several years ago I came upon two (a leopard and a garden) on a dead tree. Not sure if they were avoiding each other or rushing towards each other to do slug battle.

  3. He is certainly less gelatinous looking then the snail you posted a while back and rather iridescent. I did not realize that a slug was a snail. What good is a shell if it’s INSIDE?

    • Perhaps the shell has no particular current function. It might act as an anchor for locomotor muscles – but I doubt it. These animals are descended from shelled-relatives. Perhaps there was no particular adaptive significance to the shell … perhaps there was actually some advantage to the loss of the shell. Who can know? In the absence of a protective shell, some slugs produce noxious toxins which are deposited into the protective mucous coating. Not a nice mouthful for an unsuspecting predator.

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