Limax is Latin for slug -- as in, the slimy little creature that lives in your garden. Unsurprisingly, it is also the scientific term for a genus of air-breathing land slugs in the gastropod family Limacidae.

The genus of Limax is native to Europe, although the leopard slug (Limax maximus) has been quite successfully, if accidently, introduced into North America, while the tawny garden slug (Limax flavus) has been exported to China. This is not to say that America was originally slug-free; most North American land slugs are of the family Agriolimacidae, which is in fact the most populous and widespread of the slug families worldwide. Genus Limax appears to have gained its Latin name primarily because it is common in Europe and because its members are generally larger in size and more annoying to gardeners than are other slugs.

Limax consists of over 30 species of slug; aside from the common garden pests mentioned above, the most notable of these may be Limax cinereoniger, which currently holds the title of the largest land slug in the world, with some specimens coming in at over 20 centimeters in length.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Family: Limacidae
Genus: Limax

Li"max (?), n. [L.] Zool.

A genus of airbreathing mollusks, including the common garden slugs. They have a small rudimentary shell. The breathing pore is on the right side of the neck. Several species are troublesome in gardens. See Slug.


© Webster 1913.

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