I stood on a slug on Friday. Arion to carrion. You see, they closed the car park near my office so I now have to park right up the top of the hill. This means that I start my day with a ten minute scenic detour along the track at the woodland edge. (Every cloud has a silver lining). So it was this morning that I disturbed a roe deer and as it stepped out onto the track right in front of me, I stomped to an emergency stop and experienced that unmistakable oozy sensation of shoe upon very large slug. (Every silver lining has a cloud.).
I'll save you the gore of the squashed one - the Arion ater that I stood on looked like this before the close encounter with Doc Martin.
|Arion ater, Mountjoy, Durham|
Furthermore, immigrant German glass blowers in Sweden's southern parts collected Arions to smear on their frying pans when cooking pancakes, and in Essex, kids collected them along the railway lines to sell to the rail workers to lube their wheels (just the job when badger lard is in short supply).
If you think I'm making this up, read the whole paper, gloriously entitled, 'Black Slugs (Arion ater) as Grease: A Case Study of Technical Use of Gastropods in Pre-Industrial Sweden', here. Nice one Ingvar.
The colour variation in Arion is interesting. There is a north-south divide. In Northumberland, I've only ever seen the jet black version. They are black in Sweden too.
|Arion ater, Chillingham, Northumberland|
|Black ones with a snazzy orange and black skirt.|
(Postscript - 27-08-11: Have a look at Blackbird's excellent blog for an interesting post on species and colour variations. The link is here. Looks like I will have to edit my post to read Arion sp. !)