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Insect Scout: Geetha Pallavi
Location: Miryalaguda, AP, India
Species Identifier(s): Wallaby1, kennedyh (http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/898824/)
Points to appreciate:
- Scientifically this is not an insect but a mollusk. Snails, oyesters, mussels, squids, octopuses, scallops, clams are some other examples of mollusks.
- Shell-less snails are more usual in the sea and they are more exotic in their appearance as well.
- The above animal is a nocturnal creature, that is, they are active during the night. We found it under a brick and as soon as we removed the brick it shuffled off to hide itself under dark leaves and sleep.
- This could be a Tropical Leatherleaf slug but we are not sure. If it is a Tropical Leatherleaf, then it has a pallial lung and can breathe air.
- Land slugs, like all other gastropods, undergo torsion (a 180º twisting of the internal organs) during development. Internally the anatomy of a slug clearly shows the effects of this rotation, but externally the bodies of slugs appear rather symmetrical.
- The soft, slimy bodies of slugs are prone to desiccation (extreme dryness), so land-living slugs are confined to moist environments and are forced to retreat to damp hiding places when the weather is dry.
- Like other snails, slugs macerate food using their radula, a rough, tongue-like organ with many tiny tooth-like denticles.
- Like other pulmonate land snails, most slugs have two pairs of 'feelers' or tentacles on their head; the upper pair being light sensors, while the lower pair provides the sense of smell. Both pairs are retractable and can be regrown if lost.
- Most slugs are harmless to humans and their interests, but a small number of species of slugs are pests of agriculture and horticulture. They feed on fruits and vegetables prior to harvest, making holes in the crop, which can make individual items unsuitable to sell for aesthetic reasons and which can make the crop more vulnerable to rot and disease.