Pennsylvania Land Snails

Philomycus togatus (Gould, 1841)

Common name: Toga mantleslug
Family Philomycidae
Order Stylommatophora

The toga mantleslug is a large native slug best distinguished by its pink foot-edge and orange mucus. As with other native mantleslugs, the toga has a mantle, the organ that builds the shells of shelled snails, covering its entire back. Its mantle has a speckled stripe on top, and is darker on the lower sides, but mantle pattern can be confusing to use for identification purposes. Live animals are best for identification as colors fade upon death and preservation.

Toga mantleslugs are widespread in Pennsylvania, though not often collected or sent to museums. Because these slugs are not usually distinguished or collected, their ecology is also poorly known. During wet summer weather they may be found crawling on logs or tree trunks in mature forest, and they presumably eat algae and fungi.

Philomycid slugs such as the toga mantleslug have a "dart," a calcium carbonate spike located in a sac along the vagina, to aid in reproduction. The dart is jabbed into a potential mate, probably to help with species recognition by injecting pheromones, though it does not detach and is not directly involved in transfer of sperm.

Pennsylvania land snail expert H. Lee Fairbanks (1986) used external and internal characteristics and enzymes to confirm the species status of this animal.

Ken Hotopp, 1/2/06

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