Pennsylvania Land Snails

Photo(s): Ron Lutz II

Limax maximus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: giant gardenslug
Family Limacidae
Order Stylommatophora

The introduced giant gardenslug grows up to 20cm long (Kerney and Cameron, 1979). It has a mantle, the organ that builds the shells of shelled snails, 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. Its upper color varies from brownish green to gray, and its sole (underside) is whitish. 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, sidewalks, or old homesites in the woods, generally at night. It is a voracious herbivore, but also feeds upon other slugs. Its most amazing feat may be aerial mating, in which a pair of slugs mates while suspending themselves from a mucus strand attached to a tree branch or other object. An early record of this animal in the Eastern US is 1904 in Saratoga County, New York (NYSM).

Ken Hotopp, Tim Pearce 9/30/05

owl.gifDevelopment of this site was supported by the generous contributions of Pennsylvanians to the Wild Resource Conservation Fund.