The Banana Slug can be found along the Pacific Coast. Its populations reach from as far north as Alaska to as far South as California. The heaviest concentration of the Banana Slug is found in California. (Branson 1996, Hill 1997)
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Recent molecular evidence suggests that A. columbianus, as defined by Mead (1943) and Pilsbry (1948), is not monophyletic but rather that populations of Ariolimax north of Mendocino Co., California (the true A. columbianus, since the species was described from specimens collected near the Columbia River) are evolutionarily distinct from the more southern populations (Leonard et al., 2005; Pearse et al., 2005). The name Ariolimax buttoni (Pilsbry and Vanatta, 1896) has been revived to designate the southern clades formerly included in A. columbianus (see Leonard et al., 2007). As such, A. columbianus occurs from the area north of Mendocino Co., California, north to southeastern Alaska (Pilsbry, 1948; Roth and Sadeghian, 2003; Leonard et al., 2007).
The Banana Slug is the second largest slug. It can reach up to a length of 25 cm. The majority of Banana Slugs can easily be identified by their resemblence to a banana. They have yellow bodies with brown spots. Some Banana Slugs can be found with green, brown, or white bodies. The coloration of Banana slugs can change accordingly with their diet and the amount of moisture in their environment. The bodies of Banana Slugs have a muscular foot for locomotion. They also posses a hump on their back and a mantle. Banana Slugs have lungs that open to the outside through a pneumostone for respiration located on the right side of their mantle. Banana Slugs have two pairs of tentacles. The larger of the two pairs of tentacles are used to sense the brightness of light. The second pair are used to sense smells. The Banana Slug is able to retract both pairs of tentacles to protect them from the surrounding environment. Banana Slugs are covered with a slime that serves many purposes. (Branson 1996, Hill 1997, Murphy 1967, Nichols and Cooke 1979)
Banana Slugs live in the floors of forests in the Pacific Northwest. Because they respire through their skin, Banana Slugs require a moist environment to live. Banana Slugs serve as decomposers in forests. They break down plant materials. They also spread seeds and spores while eating. They spend much of their time during the day in moist, dark areas like under logs or other forest debris. (Branson 1996, Hill 1997)
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Banana Slugs are herbivores. They eat leaves, dead plant materials, fungi, and animal droppings. Banana Slugs favor mushrooms over other foods. Banana Slugs eat their food using their radula. A radula is made up of many rows of teeth used for grinding up food particles. (Branson 1996, Hill 1997, Grzimek 1972)
Like most slugs, the Banana Slug is hermaphroditic. This means that one slug has both male and female reproductive organs. Although they are capable of self fertilization, they more often cross mate. When a slug is ready to mate, it leaves behind a chemical in its slime to signal potential mates. Before mating, the slugs will eat each others slime. Mating usually occurs at night. The slugs exchange sperm that fertilize the eggs internally. The Banana Slug gnaws off its penis when disengaging from sex. Slugs are capable of storing the sperm that they have recieved for many weeks to fertilize eggs that are not yet mature at the time of mating. Banana Slugs produce up to twenty translucent eggs. The fertilized eggs are laid under logs or in leaves. The parent slugs play no role in the lives of their offsprings after laying the eggs. (Branson 1996, Hill 1997, Murphy 1967)
Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats Public Records: 0Specimens with Barcodes: 3Species With Barcodes: 1
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Reasons: This species is widespread from central California to southern Alaska.
Banana slugs are sometimes viewed as pests by gardeners when they eat garden plants and flowers.
Negative Impacts: household pest
Hill, D. 1997. "Banana Slug" (On-line). Accessed 4/14/00 at http://www.naturepark.com/bslug.htm.
Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Terrestrial Snails
false - false - false
G - 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles) - G - (see Leonard et al., 2007). As such, A. columbianus occurs from the area north of Mendocino Co., California, north to southeastern Alaska (Pilsbry, 1948; Roth and Sadeghian, 2003; Leonard et al., 2007).
200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
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© 2012-2013. Encyclopedia of Puget Sound is published by the Puget Sound Institute at the UW Tacoma Center for Urban Waters
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