Discover The Largest Slug In The World (Bigger Than a Football!)

Have you ever heard the world’s biggest slapstick? Otherwise, you are in for a big surprise! Limax cinereoniger is actually a type of slug that is bigger than a football! This slug is not only huge, but also unique and fascinating in many ways. Buckle up because this giant slime is about to blow your mind! Let’s discover the world’s largest slug!

Meet Limax Cinereoniger!

Limax cinereoniger, also known as the ash-black slug, is a species of dry slug in the family Limacidae. It is also known as keelback slug. What sets Limax cinereoniger apart is its impressive size – it’s the largest dry slug species in the world!

They may not be the most attractive creatures, but they are certainly interesting to learn about.

Size and Appearance

big slug
Limax cinereoniger is the world’s largest land snail and belongs to the Limacidae family.

©iStock.com/Henrik_L

These slugs are known for their impressive size, as they can grow up to 8 inches when fully grown. However, in England it is normal for this slag to reach 12 inches. In contrast, Arion ater is one of the most common slugs, growing up to 5½ inches at maturity.

They also range in color from pale gray to light brown or black. A black and white stripe runs from the back edge of the mantle to the tip of the tail. This stripe is a key feature because it is absent in the similar species, Limax maximus.

In addition to their stunning appearance, ash-black slugs also attract attention with their curly shape. They have a pale ridge or spine running along their back. Some ash-black slugs also have thick black and gray stripes along their bodies.

One way to distinguish Limax cinereoniger from Limax maximus is to look underfoot. The underside of the foot of an adult ash-black slug is dark gray with a white stripe down the middle. In contrast, Limax maximus has a uniform white underside.

However, juvenile Limax cinereoniger can be easily confused with adult Limax maximus due to their similar colored underparts.

Distribution

If you live in Europe or the Mediterranean region, you may have encountered these slimy creatures at some point. They are native to this part of the world and can be found in most European countries. Some of these are Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Great Britain, Ireland, Finland and Ukraine. They can be found as far east as the Urals. Although they are common, they are rarely seen because they are so common.

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Although this slug is common in many parts of its range, it is absent from the southernmost parts of Europe. It lives in the Iberian Peninsula and the Balkans, but there are no records of it in Portugal or Greece. It is not found in northern Scandinavia, Iceland, or the southernmost parts of the Mediterranean.

Your best chance of spotting these giant slugs is in the UK or Europe, with the exception of a few specific areas. It would be difficult to miss such a huge creature.

Place of residence

Limax Cinereoniger can be found in a variety of natural forests and thickets, including coniferous forests. It crawls on the ground and in trees, but avoids cultivated forests.

Slugs tend to hide in stumps, rotting tree trunks, and under loose bark. Although they have been heavily modified by traditional management practices, their presence may be indicative of ancient woodlands.

In Romania, slag is mostly found in the mountains, where it is quite common. Meanwhile, in Britain it is more common in non-calcareous soils. It can be found at altitudes up to 2000 meters in Switzerland, and higher in Romania and Bulgaria.

At night, they look for food in the forest, in stumps and even trees. During the day, they hide under large pieces of dead wood to avoid predators and the scorching sun.

You can see adult black slugs all year round because they can be found in their habitat year round. They are most active on humid nights when humidity is high. But if you know where to look, you can see them during the day.

If you want to see these slimy creatures in action, consider taking a night hike through the ancient woodlands. Note their ash-black color and the distinctive white stripes running down the back of their mantle.

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What does Limax Cinereoniger eat?

These slugs emerge from their hiding places on humid nights in search of food, including fungi, lichens and algae. In addition to these plant materials, Limax cinereoniger is also known to consume fungi.

Ecology

Slugs are often considered pests due to their voracious appetite and ability to damage plants. However, it is important to remember that they are a vital part of the ecosystem and play an important role in their environment. Limax cinereoniger should not be thought of as a pest.

Like all animals, slugs have a place in the natural world. They play a role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystems. The next time you see a slug, take a moment to appreciate these amazing creatures and their place in the world.

Life of Limax Cinereoniger

The slug Limax cinereoniger lives up to five years and reaches maturity after about two years.

Limax Cinereoniger Reproduction

The snail Limax cinereoniger has both male and female reproductive organs and is capable of self-fertilization (i.e. it reproduces sexually). However, they usually mate with other slugs of their species and fertilize each other’s eggs in a unique mating ritual. When the slugs mate, they will begin to secrete a special slime substance. The two slugs will then insert their male reproductive parts into their female reproductive parts. In this way, they fertilize each other’s eggs.

Individual slugs lay a total of 400 to 800 eggs in batches of 40 to 250 between July and October. They put them not in the soil, but under the moss. The eggs hatch after 20 to 30 days, and the resulting juveniles are initially 0.3 inches long.

Slags take on a dark color after about a year, although sometimes it can happen after two to three months. They reach maturity at about two years of age at 6 to 7 inches long.

Slugs survive the first breeding season and lay eggs again the following year.

Protection status

Limax cinereoniger slug is relatively common to find in certain areas of England, particularly in the eastern lowlands. However, slag is less prevalent in the UK as a whole. It is considered endangered due to modern forest management practices.

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In contrast, the slug is rare in Spain and Ireland and is vulnerable to habitat change in Spain.

Nevertheless, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified Limax cinereoniger as Least Concern. It is not currently endangered and can still be found relatively easily in its natural habitat.

How can a snail get so big?

It is not clear why the Limax cinereoniger slug grows so large. There may be various factors that influence its size, such as genetics, environmental conditions, and access to food.

Perhaps the slug got bigger to fit better in its habitat or to have a competitive advantage in finding food or mates.

But without more information about this particular species, it’s hard to know the reasons for its size.

There is limited research on the slug Limax cinereoniger because it is not a widely studied species. More research and information on the biology, ecology and evolution of the snail may help us understand why it is so large.

However, the size of a species is not necessarily indicative of its overall success in the environment. It is possible for a species to thrive in its habitat, even if it is not the most physically dominant.

Fun facts about Limax Cinereoniger

Here are some fun facts about the Limax cinereoniger slug.

  • Did you know that slugs can come in different colors? Although Limax cinereoniger slug is usually dark in color, it can also be found in white, yellow, and red.
  • These slugs are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. However, it generally takes two slugs to complete the mating process.
  • According to research conducted in 1950, the slug Limax cinereoniger has the ability to react to odors.
  • Of the 44 species of slug known in Britain, Limax cinereoniger is the largest.
  • Although some gardeners consider slugs to be pests, it is unlikely that ash black slugs will be found near prized plants such as lupines or hostas.
  • Limax cinereoniger slugs prefer damp or moist conditions.

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