Slug's Eye View

I took Clara and Alden for a strolling adventure in Seal Bay Regional Park today – a complete circuit around the main swamp starting and ending at the Hardy Road parking area. Most of the trail was pretty good except for the bit between the swamp and the main trail between Hardy Road and Bates Road. The swamp is filling in with Hardhack (Spiraea douglasii ssp. douglasii) and it will be spectacular when that comes into bloom!

It was a fairly quiet day in these second growth woods (nurse logging stumps are common) so I kept my eyes close to the ground looking for forest flowers and anything else that was interesting. What I kept seeing over and over were slugs – mostly the Chocolate Arion (Arion rufus), also commonly known as the Licorice Slug. There were also a few native Pacific Bananaslugs (Ariolimax columbianus) but not very many. A. rufus is an introduced slug that originates in western and central Europe. It comes in a variety of colours including black, reddish brown, and even orange and is noticeably textured. When disturbed it contracts its body into a hump.

Chocolate Arion (Arion rufus)
A Chocolate Arion (Arion rufus) from a slug's perspective - it reacted to the focusing light on my camera by pulling in its eye stalks.

Tomorrow I’ll post some pictures of one of the cool things that these slugs were eating – rest assured that it isn’t a picture of a slug on dog feces even though there was plenty of that slug “food source” along the sides of the trail. Dog owners be advised that claiming that your pet is leaving an “organic” treat for slugs is misleading. I don’t think there are enough slugs to dispose of it all so why not do the right thing and pack it out yourself? Saves me from having to clean it off the wheels of my stroller.

Slug enthusiasts should check out Robert G. Forsyth’s Land Snails of British Columbia or visit his web site mollus.ca. Dog enthusiasts should clean up after their charges.