2013 - Kerry Slug Survey

Kerry Slug Survey

When is the best time to spot it?
The best time to find the Kerry Slug is on wet, cloudy days when specimens are often seen crawling over bryophyte or moss-covered tree trunks or sandstone outcrops in suitable habitat. During sunny, warm weather the Kerry Slug takes refuge under bryophytes (esp. mosses), in cracks on sandstone boulders and behind the vegetation at the base of sandstone rocks. Surveys at dawn, dusk and during the night in Spain have also proved successful.

How will I know if it is the Kerry Slug?
The Kerry Slug has a number of characteristics which make it relatively easy to identify. Firstly it is only found in oak dominated woodland and unimproved open moor or blanket bog in Co. Kerry and west Cork. Secondly, specimens are either brown with yellow spots (typical of woodland specimens) or black with white spots (typical of peatland specimens). Lastly, when disturbed, the slug curls itself up into a defensive ball (see photo). We encourage observers to submit a photograph with their records.
Attach photos to emails and send to info[at]biology.ie, (just remove the square brackets).

The aim of the Kerry Slug Survey
The aim of the survey is to accrue modern records for this internationally important invertebrate with the overall objective of producing an up-to-date distribution map. In Ireland, there are five 10km grid squares where the species has not been recorded since pre-1950 and other areas where the last records are pre-1980. The survey will help to address these important

shortcomings. This investigation also forms an integral part of a wider study to examine the population ecology of the Kerry Slug and to develop a suitable monitoring protocol for the species.