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Cellar Slug is no Kerry Slug!

11/12/2009

The Cellar Slug, Limacus flavus, is a species of gastropod which many people in Ireland are likely to be familiar with (see figure 1). It has a penchant for

living in and around human habitation and often enters households after dark to feed on scraps of food. The species also has a fondness for dog and cat food and you may see it munching away in your pet's food bowl after dark! During the day the Cellar Slug hides away in dark damp crevices such as cellars, outhouses, structural crevices and drainage shores.

During the National Kerry Slug Survey some recorders confused this slug with the Kerry Slug (Geomalacus maculosus). Limacus flavus tends to be mottled yellow and green or yellow and brown and has distinct petrol blue tentacles (figure 1). Although the Kerry Slug can be brown with yellow spots (figure 2), it does not have the distinct tentacle colouration of the Cellar Slug. In addition, G. maculosus is able to curl itself into a defensive ball (figure 3), a feat which is beyond the capabilities of L. flavus.

Lastly, G. maculosus is associated with wild habitats (e.g. blanket bog and deciduous forest) in Cos. Cork and Kerry while the Cellar Slug prefers to be in our company! L. flavus has also been recorded from throughout the country.

Thanks to those recorders who uploaded and sent us records of the Kerry Slug over the last few months and we look forward to receiving more over the coming year.
Remember when you re searching though, the Cellar Slug is no Kerry Slug!