Thursday, October 10, 2013

Banana Slug

Ariolimax spp.
There are three different species that are known as Banana Slugs, and all belong to the genus Ariolimax. All three also happen to live near the Pacific Coast of North America, inhabiting the rainy coniferous forests that run from Alaska to California.

Banana Slugs get their name from their bright yellow color, though yellow is not the only color they come in. Some are green, others are brown, and some even have dark spots (sounds like the various stages of a ripening banana to me!) One of the species, the Pacific Banana Slug, is the second largest slug in the world, and can grow as long as 10 inches.

These slugs live on the forest floors, moving slowly as slugs do. In a minute they can cover almost half a foot of distance! They consume all kinds of detritus and decomposing matter, and by doing so help to fertilize their environment.

Banana Slugs aren't just important contributors to their environment-- they are a college mascot too! In 1986 the University of California, Santa Cruz selected the slug, which can be found in nearby forests, to be its official mascot. Sammy the Slug represents them to this day!

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Pacific Coast of North America
Size : Length up to 10in (25cm)
Classification : Phylum : Mollusca -- Class : Gastropoda
Family : Ariolimacidae -- Genus : Ariolimax
Image : National Park Service

1 comment:

  1. The first time I heard of banana slugs was in the movie "Coraline". I've been wanting to see one in person eversince! And the ranging colors do sound like the stages of a banana! Thank you for sharing this post. :)

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