Pennsylvania Land Snails

Photo(s): Ron Lutz II

Philomycus flexularis (Rafinesque, 1820)

Common name: Winding mantleslug
Family Philomycidae
Order Stylommatophora

The winding mantleslug is a native slug with its mantle, the organ that builds the shells of shelled snails, covering its entire back. The mantle is fantastically mottled, like a Jackson Pollock painting in tan, gray, brown, and black. The darker areas of color make three loose “stripes,” one in the center of the back and one on each side, but they sometimes suggest a double central stripe or a central chevron pattern.

This large native slug, often 50mm and up to 100mm long (Pilsbry, 1948),
is at home in mature forest with large trees and logs. Its natural history is mostly unknown, but it presumably eats fungi and algae like others of its family. It was previously considered a subspecies of Philomycus carolinianus, until elevated to species status by Hubricht (1951) due to its less distinctive spots and smaller reproductive organs.

The winding mantleslug is distributed in a band along the higher elevations
of the Appalachian and Adirondack Mountains from Georgia to New Hampshire (Hubricht, 1985). In Pennsylvania the winding mantleslug appears
to be widespread although it has been little collected.

Ken Hotopp, 1/10/06

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