Limax maximus Linnaeus, 1758
This is one of the larger garden slugs, with the potential to grow up to 150 mm or more in length. The body of this slug is yellow-grey or brown in color. It usually has black markings that may resemble spots or stripes. These markings may sometimes coalesce into two or three pairs of stripes that run the length of the body, but never forming a continuous line. The tentacles are red-brown in color. The mantle has a yellow or white base color and it is also patterned with a brown color; however, it never has bands or stripes; instead it is irregularly spotted or mottled. Albino variants of this species do exist. The ridges on the mantle appear to have a fingerprint-like pattern. The pneumostome ( breathing pore) is located in the right, posterior margin of the mantle. The keel only occurs near the tip of the tail, and the sole of the foot is creamy white and produces colorless mucus.
Note: L. cinereoniger has an obvious tripartite sole (the center of the foot is pale and the margins dark); whereas, L. maximus has a uniformly white sole. Also, a pale tan to white stripe runs down the back of L. cinereoniger, but it is absent in L. maximus. Also, juveniles of L. cinereoniger may be confused with adult L. maximus due to their uniformly colored sole.
Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor
- U.S.: California, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin
Pacific Islands: Hawaii
Australasia: New Zealand
The giant garden slug prefers habitats modified by humans such as gardens, greenhouses or wooded areas. They prefer damp, shaded places such as beneath rocks or vegetation. They are nocturnal in nature and have a very developed homing behavior. The diet includes fungi, decaying plant material and green plants. They are able to mate while suspended on a thread of mucus and generally produces oval eggs, in clusters (50-130) that are approximately 5-5.5 mm in diameter. The total number of eggs laid by this species throughout its lifetime is roughly 650-850. Mating occurs in spring and autumn. They have a lifespan of approximately three to four years.
- Limax maximus Linnaeus, 1758. Systema Naturae, Edito decima, reformata 1: 652. Type locality Sweden.
- Limax cinereus Muller, 1774. Verm. HIst. 2: 5.
- Limacella parma Brard, 1815. Hist. terr. fluv. Environs. Paris: 110.
- Limax antiquorum Ferussac, 1819. Hist. nat. Moll. II: 68 (part).
- Limax maculatus Nunneley, 1837. Trans. Phil. Soc. Leeds I: 46.
- Limax cellarius (d'Argenville) Lessona & Pollonera, 1882. Monogr. Limacidae Ital. 1: 23.
Anderson 2005; Barker 1979; Branson 1959; Branson 1962; Branson 1980; Cowie 1997; Forsyth 2004; Horsak 2004; Kantor et al. 2009; Kerney et al. 1979; Niemela et al. 1988; Meyer and Cowie 2010; McDonnell et al. 2009; Roth and Sadeghian 2006; Stephenson 1968, Thomas et al. 2010