Veronicellidae: Vaginulus alte

Family

Veronicellidae

Species

Vaginulus alte (Ferussac, 1822)

Common Name

Black slug, Tropical leatherleaf

Description

The tropical leatherleaf slug measures 70-80 mm long. It is dark-colored (grayish) with raised pustules/tubercles and a characteristically narrow foot. A pale brown line spans the length of its dorsum. The foot is 4-5 mm wide in adults and 1 mm wide in juveniles. The keel is tan colored. The tentacles are 2-3 mm long, and rarely extend beyond the tip of the mantle.

Native Range

Cental Africa

Distribution

Pacific Islands: Hawaii

Islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans

Australasia: Australia, New Zealand

Asia: Southern

Africa: South and Central

Ecology

This pest species consumes vegetable crops, fruits and weeds. This species is an intermediate host for Angiostrongylus cantonensis, the rat lung parasite of humans. It occupies dry areas at low altitudes and feed during periods of high humidity (late evening/early morning). The adults of this slug will deposit its eggs in any depression in the soil. The eggs are often observed in a cluster with a thread-like material surrounding it. Fecal matter is also deposited on the eggs to maintain the eggs' high moisture content. The oval, translucent eggs will measure up to 8 mm. Clutch size may be as much as 100 eggs. The eggs often hatch in about a month. The juveniles will measure close to 8 mm upon eclosion (hatching). Although maturity is often attained after 5 months, breeding only commences during favorable conditions (warm and rainy weather).

Synonyms

  • Laevicaulis alte (Ferussac, 1822)
  • Vaginulus alte Ferussac, 1822
  • Vaginula leydigi Simroth, 1889

References

Cowie 1997; Cowie et al. 2008; Cowie et al. 2009; Naggs et al. 2003; Solem 1964; Thome 1989

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