Virginia Land Snails


Photo(s): Pallifera dorsalis images by Dan Dourson ©.

Click photo(s) to enlarge.

Pallifera dorsalis (A. Binney, 1842)

Family: Philomycidae
Common name: Pale Mantleslug

Length: 6.5-15 mm

Pallifera dorsalis is an average-sized Pallifera that has a mantle that covers the entire dorsal surface of the animal, like all other philomycids. The mantle is pale tannish-grey sometimes with a bluish cast. The background is overlain with small greyish-black spots and flecks that tend to coalesce to form a single central band down the length of the mantle. Without ample light and some magnification the mottling and band can be difficult to see.

The edge of the anterior of the foot is often stained with red similar to Pallifera ohioensis, which may be a synonym. The reproductive system is not equipped with a dart sac. The jaw has 7 ribs that taper in size with the largest in the center and the edges of the jaw are smooth.

This species is usually found in leaf litter, in both old-growth and secondary upland hardwood forests. These small slugs are difficult to find and difficult to properly preserve for study, and the entire genus is in need of taxonomic revision.

Pallifera dorsalis is widely distributed from Ontario to northern North Carolina. In Virginia, the species is abundant in the southwestern counties of the state in both the Piedmont and Ridge and Valley. It also occurs in most western counties of Maryland and it is likely the species occurs in the intervening mountains of northeastern Virginia.

NatureServe Global Rank: G5
NatureServe State Rank: S4


John Slapcinsky 10/2012

Range Map