Black slug

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Black slug
Black slug (Arion ater)

Black slug ( Arion ater )

Order : Lung snails (pulmonata)
Subordination : Land snails (Stylommatophora)
Superfamily : Arionoidea
Family : Slugs (Arionidae)
Genre : Arion
Type : Black slug
Scientific name
Arion ater
( Linnaeus , 1758)

The black slug ( Arion ater ), also known as the great black slug or large slug , is a 10 to 13 centimeter long slug that is widespread in Northern Europe. It belongs to the family of slugs (Arionidae) from the subordination of land snails (Stylommatophora).


The black slug is fully grown and stretched out 10 to 13 cm long. The animals are mostly deep black, rarely dark brown or gray. The sole of the foot is also very dark. The young animals are initially very light, but then quickly turn gray and are deep black when they are half their adult size. The mantle shield takes up about a third of the total length. The breathing opening is on the right side in the front part of the jacket shield.


The hermaphroditic animals fertilize each other. After copulation, the animals lay up to 150 eggs, which are hidden in the ground. The young hatch after about 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the temperature.

Way of life and occurrence

The animals prefer to live in moist forests, meadows, moors and gardens. Food is wilted or fresh plants, but also carrion. It is mainly nocturnal, but also diurnal in damp weather. It occurs in Scandinavia, Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein and northern England and the Vosges, but has now been abducted almost worldwide. In the original range, the species does not occur in large populations that have a noticeable harmful effect on crops.

Differences and systematics

In the past, the black slug was often combined with the red slug ( Arion rufus ) to form one species. Sometimes they were also listed as subspecies. While the black slug only contains black to dark brown colored animals, the red slug also has black animals despite the name. The color alone is therefore not a distinguishing criterion. A reliable determination can only be made genetically via DNA barcoding or by examining the sexual organs: the genital atrium that is evacuated during mating is significantly larger in the red slug than in the black slug. Also the adult animals of the red slug are z. T. much larger. Differences can also be found in the young animals: in the red slug they are light yellowish with a dark head, in the black slug the young are initially also light with a black head, but they quickly turn gray and are then even half-grown black. Another determinant is the occurrence. In Scandinavia and northern England only the black slug occurs, while the red slug is restricted to Central Europe. In Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein and southern England there are areas where both species occur together. The Spanish slug is also very variable in color, but never deep black. It can easily be confused with the red slug. In Norway and Sweden, hybrid populations between the Spanish slug and the black slug have been observed in some small areas.


Snail syrup , which is considered a home remedy for coughing up , can contain 2% of an extract of black slugs (" Lumax ater ").

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Terrestrial Gastropods of the Columbia Basin, British Columbia
  2. ^ Manfred Lehmann: Nudibranchs . Plant Protection Service of the State of Brandenburg, PDF 2.1MB, accessed on December 6, 2013.
  3. NOBANIS - Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet Arion lusitanicus PDF ( Memento from February 18, 2011 on WebCite )
  4. Dr. Hotz snail syrup 100 ml accessed on July 10, 2019 (see also: [1] )


  • Rosina Fechter and Gerhard Falkner: molluscs. 287 pp., Munich, Mosaik-Verlag 1990 (Steinbach's Nature Guide 10) ISBN 3-570-03414-3
  • Michael P. Kerney, RAD Cameron, Jürgen H. Jungbluth: The land snails of Northern and Central Europe. 384 pp., Paul Parey, Hamburg and Berlin 1983, ISBN 3-490-17918-8

Web links

Commons : Black Slug  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files