Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 13 February 2017 16:14
Yesterday was awesome. I went on a slug identification course at Woods Mill. Yes you heard right, slugs. My new favourite group. After years of avoiding them, I'm hooked. Mostly thanks to these two guys. The amazing Chris de Feu, possibly the funniest man on Earth and Michael Blencowe for arranging the whole thing and now the second funniest man on Earth after Chris. Well done guys.
But why the change of heart? Well, the thing that really got me about slugs, and this is quite embarrassing to admit, is that they are asymmetrical. Don't ask me why but I like this. Anyway, I did not know that they only had one breathing pore on the right hand side. I'd always thought there was another one on the other side and in photos you can't see it and in the flesh I'd be heading in the wrong direction to notice. This is a throw back from the days when they were snail and asymmetry evolved with shells. Amazing! The other thing I didn't know is that they poo out of the their breathing pore! How utterly disgusting is that? How can I have not noticed this? Anyway, two slug facts that are so weird and gross that they have won a place in my heart. As I was driving home from work though it suddenly came in to my mind, what if a slug gets constipated? It could be fatal.
This is the Dusky Slug Arion subfuscus or as Chris calls it the Yellow Stainer. The slime is actually yellow and quite a pleasant hand moisturiser (I did not try this). This is the first record for Woods Mill.
And here is the slime we wiped on a notebook.
Then Brad Scott found a species new to Woods Mill and the whole reserve network (9794). It's the Green-soled Slug Arion flagellus. Nice one Brad! Check out the big old tubercles on the back and the green sole.
So what next? Well I got three slugs new to Southerham today in a ten minute period. I only turned five logs over. So it's already proving a worthwhile exercise. Bring on the slime! Just to go back to thanking Michael for organising and to Chris for being such a brilliant teacher and generally awesome bloke to be around!