Virginia Land Snails
Photo(s): Image of Limax maximus by Ron Lutz II ©.
Click photo(s) to enlarge.
Limax maximus Linnaeus, 1758 (non-native)
Common name: Giant Gardenslug
Length: 100 - 200 mm
The introduced Limax maximus has a mantle covering the anterior portion of its dorsum (back). In this slug the mantle actually encloses a small vestigial shell. While the mantle is darkly spotted or marbled, the slug’s posterior has two or three dark longitudinal stripes (Kerney & Cameron, 1979). Its upper color varies from brownish green to gray, and its sole (underside) is whitish. The posterior has a “keel,” or ridge. Its slime is sticky and colorless, and its penis, which might be observed during mating, is pale blue. It is native to Europe.
This giant non-native slug prowls gardens, yards, sidewalks, or old homesites in the woods, typically at night. It is omnivorous, generally eating plant material but also feeding upon other slugs. It conducts aerial mating, in which a pair of slugs mates while suspending themselves from a mucus strand attached to a tree branch or other object.
Up to several dozen eggs are laid under rocks or logs in the fall (Chichester & Getz, 1973). Eggs in the laboratory hatched in three to four weeks. Individuals may live four years.
NatureServe Global Rank: G5
NatureServe State Rank: SNA
Ken Hotopp 1/2013Range Map