Banana Slugs 2013

Purisima Creek Redwood Open Space Preserve, San Mateo Coast, California 2013

The banana slug is so named because it resembles- what else?- a ripe banana. It is one of the largest terrestrial mollusks, a group that also includes snails; it may grow to 7 inches (20 cm) long or greater. Some banana slugs are bright yellow like their namesake, others are greenish or brown; some have dark spots and others few or no spots. Banana slugs may be found in large concentrations, five slugs per square meter are not uncommon. Banana slugs travel on a muscular foot over a thick layer of slime. Like all other mollusks they possess an anatomical feature called a “mantle”, a muscular cavity that encloses a space containing the respiratory chamber and other organs. In banana slugs, the mantle contains a pneumostome, or breathing hole, on the right side. Banana slugs, like most other slugs, are hermaphrodites, meaning they contain both sexes within the individual, however, they rarely “self-fertilize”. Fertilized eggs are laid under logs or in leaves.

In addition to its role as a detritivore, the banana slug is are also a frugivore, or fruit-eater, and may play a role in seed dispersal of plants it consumes directly including raspberries and blackberries or, indirectly, through consumption of animal feces containing seeds. Raccoons, garter snakes, waterfowl, and salamanders are known to prey on banana slugs; juveniles are sometimes eaten by shrews or moles.

Contact zScapes

Copyright © 1990-2018 zScapes. All rights reserved