Friday, May 27, 2011

Midnight Rambler


If you wake up thirsty in the middle of the night and go into the kitchen in bare feet, to get a drink of water, and find something squishy between your toes the chances are it may well be one of these. Yellow slugs Limax flavus are very common in cellars and kitchens.


These large slugs are almost always associated with human habitation but because they are nocturnal many people don't realise they share their homes with them. In this photo you can see the large air pore - the pneumostome - that leads into the animal's mantle cavity, a primitive lung.


The moist, cool conditions of a kitchen at night suit it perfectly, especially if there is a smooth tiled floor to glide over - and it'll probably head straight for any vegetables that might be stored in a convenient place. As dawn breaks it'll glide away again, maybe behind the washing machine or under the sink

This is a slug with a distinct 'hood', from under which two pairs of tentacles protrude.

Although they are quite large the body is very compressible - slugs have a fluid-filled body cavity (a hydrostatic skeleton) where contraction of different muscle layers can make them long and thin or short and fat in any part of their body, so they can squeeze through small gaps - after checking out what's ahead first with those eyes on stalks.

Fully extended, they are up to 10 cm. long.

When yellow slugs come out for a midnight ramble they'll explore every nook and cranny while the rest of the house sleeps, so remember, when you stagger, bleary-eyed into the kitchen for a drink of water at night - they like the feel of smooth, cool ceramic tiles under their feet as much as you do.......

More slugs here

6 comments:

  1. Yeah, cheers Phil, jut thought I'd check my reader before I go to bed and this is what I see!!! I will have to put my wellies on if I need a drink in the night now :)
    Limax flavus- is this Latin for tastes like chicken?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Er, not sure I want to make any comment just yet...can't stop quivering.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You may have a point, joebloggs - too much information, but maybe better to be forewarned - it makes helluva mess if you do tread on one. Limax flavus sounds a bit like a slug gladiator...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Not my favourite animal either. It was slugs in the tent that put me off camping Toffeeapple...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes....absolutely charming. Still, look on the bright side - at least it doesn't have a shell so it won't make a noise and wake the family up (though you might I suppose).
    'Limax flavus' - the name has a certain je ne sais quoi. I can see marketing potential for using it in a new foot moisturising product.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "won't make a noise and wake the family up (though you might I suppose)" especially if your foot skids on a squashed one, Nyctalus!

    ReplyDelete