By: Demi DeRose
Species: Ariolimax Californicus (California Banana Slug), Ariolimax Columbianus (Pacific Banana Slug) & Ariolimax Columbianus (Slender Banana Slug)
The banana slug is the common name used to describe 3 air breathing land slugs. The Ariolimax Columbianus is commonly called the Pacific Banana Slug, and was discovered in 1851 by Gould. All 3 of these species are often yellow, and sometimes have black spots, resembling an overripe banana! This banana slug is usually found along the Pacific coast, from as far north as Alaska to as south as California, where there is the highest concentration of banana slugs. Most banana slugs are found on forest floors respire through their skin so they need a moist living environment. They are known as “decomposers” in forests, because they break down plant material and produce a nitrogen rich fertilizer. The Pacific banana slug is the 2nd largest species of terrestrial slugs in the world. This slug can grow up to 25 cm long, and as heavy as 4 oz.
The coloration of the slugs change depending on their diet and how much moisture is in their environment
Have a muscular foot for locomotion& a mantle
Lungs that open to outside air through a Pneumostome for respiration
2 pairs of retractable tentacles (optical used to sense light& sensory used to sense smells)
The Pacific banana slug is an herbivore (plant eating), and eats materials such as: leaves, dead plants, fungi, and animal droppings. The banana slug eats their food by using their radula made up of many rows of teeth used to grind up their food particles.
The Pacific Banana Slug reproduces hermaphroditically. Because slugs are dioecious, we automatically assume that they “self fertilize,” but it is more often that the slugs cross mate. Meaning that when the slug is ready to mate it leaves behind a chemical in its slime to signal potential mates (use their sensory tentacles). Before mating, they ingest each others slime. When the mating occurs, the slugs exchange sperm that fertilizers the eggs internally. The banana slug can produce up to 20 translucent eggs from just one sperm exchange.
Impact on the World& Humanity:
The banana slugs have no economic importance for humans, and are sometimes considered pests by gardeners when they eat garden plants and flowers.
A positive impact that the banana slugs has is that after it has eaten and the nutrients has cycled through the body, the slug creates a nitrogen rich fertilizer for the surrounding environment.
Journal Article Review:
FROM SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY:
The banana slug is a mollusc and has evolved greatly. Their stages of evolution can be seen in other various species and they are believed to have evolved from marine snails, and at one point, were protected by a shell. But because of the extreme adaptation that the slug has gone through, fossils are extremely challenging to distort, and draw conclusions from.
Also in article, she states that: Slugs love to eat strawberries, lettuce, and poison oak. And FUN FACT: The University of California, Santa Cruz, announced their schools mascot to be a Banana Slug, this was inspired by the amount of banana slugs found in forests surrounding the campus.
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