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There are thousands of species of slugs.  Slugs are classified in the mollusk phylum.  It is a gastropod.  The name means "stomach or belly-footed".  Unlike a snail, slugs can survive without a shell, because they live in a moist area.  The slugs crawl by moving muscles along its one foot.  The foot is from one end of the slug to the other end.  It has tentacles on one end; a mucus plug on the other.  The slugs have a pneumostome that leads to a lung-like cavity.

Pests to gardeners, the slug lives in shady, moist places.  They love to eat young tender plants.  There are a few species that do all the damage to plants.  If you see one, better do some digging underground.  There will be more.  Slugs will eat everything from decaying plants, decaying animals, mosses, and young plants.  They don't seem to care for the tougher more mature plants.

If you are infested with slugs, there are web sites to help you with solutions.  Just go to Ugh...Slugs!  A description of the pest is given with lots of traps for slugs.   Or just ask your neighbor.  Some of the solutions are humane, others are not.

Slugs come in the regular drab grays, browns, blacks, greens, and even in bright yellow.  Some are good at camouflaging themselves.

The adult slugs are hermaphrodites.  They do require another slug to mate.  Their eggs are laid on walls, trees or just anything that they can adhere too.  The eggs can be carried miles away by birds or other animals.  In a few weeks the eggs hatch.  In just six months the cycle begins again.

When it is too hot or too cold, the slug will bury itself in the ground until conditions improve.   Humans might disturb the slug before it's ready to surface.

People have eaten the slugs by removing the slime, gutting them, and frying them.  It would prove advantageous to make sure the slug has not had a poisonous pesticide before doing this.   Most people just study the slug to see if it can be of benefit in the medical sciences.

They may be yuck, but they are interesting.


Project Author: Carolyn Crossley

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