The World's 2nd Largest Slug
The Banana Slug (Ariolimax columbianus) is a mollusk, belonging to the class Gastropoda. They are also Pulmonates which means that they have a small lung, the small hole they have is a pneumostone which passes air into their small cavity-like lung. These slugs live in the moist forest floors along the Pacific Coast of North America and acts as a decomposer as well as a frugivore and may play a part in forest regeneration and seed dispersal. Apparently, mushrooms are one of the banana slug's favorite foods.
Banana Slugs are so named because they are bright yellow, often with black spots, giving the appearence of a banana. However, Banana Slugs can come in solid greenish, pale brown, and almost albino. The intensity of their colors also change depending on the slug's diet, light exposure, and moisture levels, in order to camouflage with their surroundings. The coloration of the slug can also indicate the general well-being of the slug. They are also the 2nd largest slugs in the world growing to an amazing 10 inches (Average length: 6-8 inches) with a lifespan of 1-7 years.
During late March to early July and from late August to early November, Banana Slugs are diurnal, and sleep on trees and shrubs at night.
The slime of the Banana Slug also has an anasthetic, that when it comes in contact with a moist surface, will cause the membranes to go numb. This is why racoons will only eat them after rolling them in dirt.
Banana Slug start off as 15-20 mm colorless eggs deposited by their hemaphroditic parents in areas of high ground water and humidity. Usually in groups of 30, Banana Slug eggs will hatch in about 3-8 weeks and require a sustained moisture, mild temperatures, and a very good hiding place as Banana Slugs are popular with their predators at all stages of their life.
Most famously, the Banana Slug is the mascot of the University of California, Santa Cruz!
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Mullusca
- Class: Gastropoda
- Subclass: Pulmonata
- Order: Geophila
- Family: Ariondae
- Genus: Ariolimax
- Species: Ariolimax columbianus