Friday, 18 December 2009

Art Naturel 2 (and a bit)

Art Naturel 2 wasn't ripples in the coaly sand by moonlight but plain old

Arion ater

The Large Black Slug, in spite of its common name, has been recorded in colour from jet black, through chestnut and orange to pale grey and creamy white. It is omnivorous, and its diet includes fungi, carrion, earthworms, leaves, stems, dead plant material and dung.

Its a shame that most people see no more than a pest - but if it's chomping its way through your garden I suppose that's fair enough. What is maybe less well known is that is a vital element in the ecosystem of the Caledonian pine forest, clearing up dead plant and faecal material, recycling nutrients, distributing seeds and spores and providing a key food source for badgers, foxes, hedghogs, slow worms and birds.


  1. Hi Allan, they're also cannibals; I've seen them eating dead colleagues. About 20 years ago my garden was infested with these so I chose the humane way to rid myself of them, by collecting about 80 after dark with tongs and temporarily imprisoning them in a polythene bag with the top tied in a knot, while I drove them to local woodland to let them go. I under-estimated the sheer muscle-power of 80 Arion ater and they broke out long before I reached our destination. I never recaptured them all by the time I sold the car soon after that and there may well have been a few loitering in unreachable corners of the vehicle. So if there's anyone out there who found themselves driving a green Mk 2 Ford Escort and glanced in the rear-view mirror only to see a large black slug crawling across back you know the reason.

  2. Great stuff!
    If you'd had the booted model of the Ford Escort and the slugs had rasped away at your upholstery, we could've changed their name to Orion eater.
    (Ho, ho, ho)