Virginia Land Snails

Photo(s): Milax gagates by Roy Anderson ©.

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Milax gagates (Draparnaud, 1801) (non-native)

Family: Milacidae
Common name: Greenhouse Slug

Length: 50-60 mm

The slug Milax gagates is medium-sized, with a prominent dorsal keel from the mantle to the tail. It is gray-colored above, lighter on the sides, and whitish underneath. The keel is sometimes lighter. Its mucus is white or colorless. Pilsbry (1948) noted that Norfolk, Virginia, specimens have a very black dorsal surface.

Milax gagates is found in a variety of habitats in western Europe and the Mediterranean – most commonly along coasts in gardens, farms, grassy seashore, hedges, and woods (Kerney & Cameron, 1979). In Argentina this animal is a pest of soybeans, sunflowers, and oilseed rape (Clemente et al., 2010). There, eggs hatched at 23 days. In Canada this slug is vulnerable to frost and overwinters in the egg stage (Grimm et al., 2009).

Synonyms for Milax gagates include Limax gagates, L. hewstoni, Amalia gagates, and M. hewstoni.

This slug has been introduced to both North American coasts. In Virginia specimens have reportedly been collected from Pittsylvania and Northampton Counties, as well as Norfolk.

NatureServe Global Rank: G5
NatureServe State Rank: SNA


Ken Hotopp 3/2013

Range Map