23 November 2008

Cannibalistic slugs

I have written about slugs eating earthworms, apples, dog feces and cat food. Today I am going to write about slugs eating slugs.

About a week ago one night after a rain when it was much warmer than it is now, I went out to my yard to check up on the resident slugs and snails. By the time I realized there were slugs were all over the place, especially on the dying leaves of the lilies, I had inadvertently stepped on one hapless Deroceras reticulatum. I went inside to get my camera and when I came back out about 15 minutes later, another Deroceras reticulatum had discovered its squished kin and was already devouring it.

SlugEatingSlug
Lucky is the slug who comes upon an unlucky slug. Note the isopod on the left that was consuming its share of the dinner.

However, my activities must have been too intrusive, for the slug left soon after I started taking pictures. I followed suit and went inside.

More than an hour later, I went back out again. This time yet another Deroceras reticulatum was engaged in cannibalism (I know it was a different individual, because its mantle patterns are different than those of the 1st one). And a millipede had taken the isopod's place.

SlugEatSlug

Deroceras reticulatum was originally introduced from Europe and is now widespread in the U.S. Its omnivorous and catholic food preferences must certainly have contributed to the successful invasion it has carried out.

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