Spot the Spanish slug-citizen science Slugwatch website

October 15, 2013

in Gardening For Wildlife, Slugs & snails

Spanish slug (Arion vulgaris) and SlugWatch web site

In early spring 2012 a new species of slug, the Spanish slug, was identified for the first time in the UK, by Dr. Ian Bedford of the John Innes Centre, Norwich. It is thought it entered the UK on imported salad leaves, bare root trees or potted plants and may soon make another unwelcome invasive species. Bedford said ” “The Spanish slug is a voracious predator that can survive eating many of the slug pellets that are supposed to kill them. It eats crops spared by our native slugs, tolerates drier conditions, reproduces in greater numbers and even eats dead animals and excrement,” said Bedford. “We want photos and sightings from members of the public to help build a picture of how widespread the Spanish slug is. The reports may also give us an idea of whether it is breeding with native species to form a hybrid combining the worst of the Spanish slug with tolerance to frosts and cold from our own species.”

Arian rufus/ater

Native Large Red slugs Arion rufus above, can grow to be 12cm in length.  A similar species Arion ater is known as the Black slug.  These slugs will, when threatened, contract into this spherical shape, produce mucus and rock from side to side. This make it very difficult for a potential predator to get ‘a grip of’ the slug and would appear rather threatening. This species is not as damaging as some other species.e.g. the Grey Field slug, (Deroceras reticulatum) even though it can grow rather large. The Spanish slug looks very similar to our own native Arion large red species only larger at 15cm!

The SlugWatch website has been set up to allow people to report where and when they have seen these slugs. A Slug Identifiaction Guide, which includes some native UK species, a slug anatomy diagram, a SlugWatch poster to print  and other useful information can be found on it.

For more information about slugs, slug pellets and predatory beetles  and making your own home made slug killing soup

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann Evans November 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I have Spanish Slugs in my Compost makers

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nurturingnature November 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm

go to http://www.slugwatch.co.uk or type in your browser search engine ‘slug watch’ for more information

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Mrs A McLarnon November 10, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I am sure I have these Spanish Slugs in my garden, I have a group of Bushes in the middle of my lawn where I am sure they live, in Summer it isn’t unusual for me to pick 100 from of my grass, each night, I don’t have a large garden I would say about 36 squ meters

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nurturingnature November 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Hi, go to http://www.slugwatch.co.uk or type in your browser search engine ‘slug watch’ for more information Cheers George

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Darren Weatherall November 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Hello! Its 20:27hrs,10/11/2013, for the past half hour i’ve been trying to connect with http://www.slugwatch.co.uk to no avail. i’ve been switching between browsers Internet Explorer AND Mozilla Firefox and neither can connect. Are you aware of this please?
Regards.

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nurturingnature November 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Darren, I had no difficulty… go to http://www.slugwatch.co.uk or type in your browser search engine ‘slug watch’ for more information Cheers George

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Chris Lewis November 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm

How do I distinguish Spanish slugs from ordinary British ones

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nurturingnature November 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Chris, go to http://www.slugwatch.co.uk or type in your browser search engine ‘slug watch’ for more information Cheers George

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Bunny 999 October 11, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Hi All, I have found Spanish Slugs in a garden in Bedford also Milton Keynes. I have followed the procedure of putting them into a bucket of hot soapy water with a cup of bleach then digging a deep hole and burying them. I have tried to access slugwatch.co.uk but it is coming up as ‘site may have been hacked’.

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nurturingnature October 11, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Hello Susan, try http://www.slugwatch.co.uk it worked me for! Cheers, George

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dawn March 13, 2015 at 10:12 pm

I am making a salad garden this summer if I put salt all around the inside of the salad box will this kill the slugs off

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nurturingnature March 14, 2015 at 8:21 am

It will and kill everything else in the soil including worms, beneficial microbes etc. I would not do it myself. Cheers, George

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Jennifer Paddock September 18, 2016 at 10:39 am

I have Spanish slugs in my composter and I also found a very large one eating the hedgehog food in the garden. Should I get rid of them out of the composter?

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nurturingnature September 19, 2016 at 7:40 am

I would yes, they will lay eggs…. Cheers, George

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