Sunday, September 26, 2010

Some Smug Slug

Rolling over a log while on a trek with friends, revealed this critter. A huge Leopard Slug, Limax maximus. Since I didn't know a whole lot about Leopard slugs, I did a little sleuthing on the internet. Wow! There are some really cool things to learn about these slimy creatures. I found out Leopard Slugs are not native to the United States. They were introduced from Europe.

I knew they had a organ used for eating called a radula which is like a tongue with raised chitinous teeth. These teeth scrape up bits of vegetation and a thick saliva transports it to the esophagus.

Radula of snail/slug. Drawing from Wikipedia

Slugs breath through a special apparatus called a pneumostome. It is an opening on the right side of the slug where air enters into the slug's single lung. Slugs are placed in family groups based on the location of the pneumostome on the slug's body.

Slugs also have an amazing mating ritual. This could be right out of a sci-fi movie. It is fascinating and actually beautiful, in a weird sort of way. I really could not do it justice by describing it, so I will let the master, David Attenborough, describe it for you in this video clip from Life in the Undergrowth.


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