Deroceras laeve (meadow slug)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Deroceras laeve Müller
Preferred Common Name
- meadow slug
Other Scientific Names
- Agriolimax agrestis L.
- Agriolimax berendti var. pictus Cockerell
- Agriolimax bovenoti Collinge
- Agriolimax campestris zonatipes Cockerell
- Agriolimax globosus Collinge
- Agriolimax pellucidus Chen & Gao
- Agriolimax perkinsi Collinge
- Agriolimax pseudodioicus Velitchkovsky
- Agriolimax renschi Wagner
- Deroceras schulzi Y. Tzvetkov & Matyokin
- Krynickillus minutus Kaleniczenko
- Limax agrestis L.
- Limax araneus Gessis
- Limax berendti var. pictus Cockerell
- Limax brunnaeus Draparnaud
- Limax brunneus Draparnaud
- Limax campestris A. Binney
- Limax castaneus Ingersoll
- Limax fedtschenkoni Koch & Heynemann
- Limax gracilis Rafinesque
- Limax hemphili W.G. Binney
- Limax heydeni Heynemann
- Limax hyperboreus Westerleund
- Limax ingersolli A. Binney
- Limax laevis Muller
- Limax montanus Ingersoll
- Limax nicensis Bourguignat
- Limax norvegicus Westerlund
- Limax pallidus Schrenk
- Limax parvulus Normand
- Limax veranyanus Bourguignat
- Limax weinlandi Heynemann
International Common Names
- English: brown slug; marsh slug; smooth slug
- Spanish: babosa; babosa gris chica
- French: limace champêtre
Local Common Names
- Brazil: lesma
- Germany: Wasser-Egelschnecke
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
D. laeve is native to the Palaearctic and to at least the western half of the Nearctic. This species is frequently confused with other species in the genus Deroceras, in particular D. invadens. As a result the exact distribution of this species is uncertain. There is reliable evidence for its invasiveness in many other parts of the world. It is widespread in mountainous regions of South America where it is unlikely to be native (Hausdorf, 2002), although has been present for a long time, at least since the late nineteenth century (Simroth, 1910). It is also present in the Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand. This species has a number of important survival strategies such as significant freeze tolerance and a well-developed anaerobic metabolism which allows it to stay underwater for days. In Hawaii it is believed to have a negative impact on a critically endangered species, Alsinidendron obovatum.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Gastropoda
- Subclass: Pulmonata
- Order: Stylommatophora
- Suborder: Sigmurethra
- Unknown: Limacoidea
- Family: Limacidae
- Genus: Deroceras
- Species: Deroceras laeve
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Deroceras is a large genus of terrestrial pulmonate slugs with at least 123 species (Wiktor, 2000). D. laeve is the most widespread taxon and has a large number of synonyms with 20 specific names listed by Kennard and Woodward (1926) and 21 by Wiktor (2000). This is mainly reflective of the variability of the species in body size, colouration and degree of development of the male copulatory organs and of its very wide distribution.
In North America this inherent variability has led to the recognition of allied but separate species by Pilsbry (1948). D. monentolophus Pilsbry has subsequently been synonymised with D. laeve by Wiktor (2000) who also expressed doubt about the specific distinctness of D. hesperium Pilsbry. Recently acquired molecular data on D. hesperium has led to the conclusion that this is not a separate species either and should now be reduced to synonymy with D. laeve (Roth et al., 2013).
Rowson et al. (2014b) when examining British Deroceras at the molecular level concluded that the greenhouse form of D. laeve is specifically distinct. This is important as the greenhouse form is readily transported with horticultural materials and is probably widely spread in artificial environments across the world. They also posited a genetically distinct form of laeve from wetlands in Ireland but this hypothesis needs to be more widely tested.
Essentially, the nomenclature of this species is well documented (Kennard and Woodward, 1926; Wiktor, 2000) and the taxonomy is clear. Confusion, however, has arisen in the conflation of D. laeve with other invasive Deroceras species and particularly with D. invadens (Reise et al., 2011; Hutchinson et al., 2014). D. invadens is genetically and physically distinct from D.laeve but many workers in South America, Australia and the USA have in the past, failed to distinguish it from D. laeve (Hutchinson et al., 2014). This has probably distorted our understanding of the distribution, behaviour and agronomy of the species as reported in the literature and should be borne in mind when viewing this datasheet.
DescriptionTop of page
D. laeve is a small slug usually less than 22 mm long and sometimes much less. However, specimens from North America may be larger than 25 mm and overlap in size with the generally larger D. invadens. The body is cylindrical and somewhat broader distally. The mantle is unusually large in proportion and has delicate wrinkles visible in front, in live specimens. The tail section of the body is shorter than the mantle section. The back either slopes evenly towards the tail or is squared off and moderately truncate. A small keel is present close to the tail (Rowson et al., 2014a).
It is variable in ground colour, ranging from an opaque chestnut- through grayish-brown to chocolate-brown. On close examination the back is seen to be sparsely mottled a darker shade, which is not easily visible to the naked eye. The mantle is similarly, or perhaps more densely, spotted. The sole is the same shade as the upper surface and the respiratory pore is only slightly paler than the rest of the body but individuals with more conspicuously pale-rimmed pores are reported from North America. Pedal and body mucus is colourless.
D. laeve is peculiar in having a partial or entire reduction of the male copulatory organs in most specimens (aphallic condition). Specimens with a fully developed penis (euphallic) are rare or absent in many populations but where euphally occurs the penis is elongate and spirally twisted (Rowson et al., 2014a). The distal intestine lacks a caecum (Wiktor, 2000).
Eggs - 1.8 x 1.5 to 2 x 1.3 mm; translucent, with calcareous particles (Quick, 1960).
DistributionTop of page
The original native range of D. laeve is considered to be the Palaearctic and parts of the Nearctic (Wiktor, 2000). This species was accidentally introduced into new areas where it reached mountainous regions of the Neotropics quite early (nineteenth century). It later became established in non-mountainous parts of some South American countries, Australia, New Zealand and a range of Pacific Islands.
This species effectively now occurs on all continents except the Antarctic. Confusion with other species such as D. invadens, partly obscures understanding of its distribution outside the native range.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Cabo Verde||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|China||Present, Widespread||Native||Wiktor et al. (2000)|
|Pakistan||Present, Few occurrences||Native||Hlavac (2004)||Duikar village, Gilgit District, Karakorum|
|Taiwan||Present, Few occurrences||Native||Tsai and Wu (2008)|
|Andorra||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Austria||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Belarus||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Belgium||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Croatia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Czechia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Denmark||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Estonia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Faroe Islands||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Federal Republic of Yugoslavia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Finland||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|France||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Corsica||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Germany||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015); Ludwig et al. (2015)|
|Hungary||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Iceland||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Ireland||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Italy||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Latvia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Liechtenstein||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Lithuania||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Luxembourg||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Moldova||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Montenegro||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Netherlands||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|North Macedonia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Norway||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Poland||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Portugal||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Madeira||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Romania||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Russia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Central Russia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Eastern Siberia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Northern Russia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Russian Far East||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Southern Russia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Western Siberia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Serbia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Serbia and Montenegro||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Slovakia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Slovenia||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Spain||Present||Native||Castillejo (1997); Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Balearic Islands||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Sweden||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Switzerland||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Ukraine||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|United Kingdom||Present, Widespread||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|-Channel Islands||Present||Native||Fauna Europea (2015)|
|Bermuda||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|Canada||Present||CABI (Undated a)||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Alberta||Present||Native||Invasive||Lepitzki (2001)||South west of Calgary, north to Lake Louise and Jasper, east to Edmonton and north to Slave Lake|
|-British Columbia||Present||Native||Forsyth (2005)||Upper Fraser Basin|
|-Manitoba||Present||Native||Prystupa et al. (1987)||Agricultural pest in strawberry cultivation|
|-New Brunswick||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Newfoundland and Labrador||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Northwest Territories||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Nova Scotia||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Ontario||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Quebec||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|Costa Rica||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|Dominica||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Robinson et al. (2009)|
|Jamaica||Present||Introduced||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|Mexico||Present, Few occurrences||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|United States||Present||CABI (Undated a)||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Alabama||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Alaska||Present, Widespread||Native||Roth and Lindberg (1981); White-McLean and Redford (2011)||Recorded in 14 counties|
|-Arkansas||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-California||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Delaware||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Florida||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Georgia||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Idaho||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Illinois||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Indiana||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Iowa||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Kansas||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Kentucky||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Louisiana||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Maine||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Maryland||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Michigan||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011); Forsyth (2005)|
|-Mississippi||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Missouri||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Nebraska||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-New Jersey||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-New Mexico||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-New York||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-North Carolina||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-North Dakota||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Ohio||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Oklahoma||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Pennsylvania||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-South Dakota||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Tennessee||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Texas||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Utah||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Vermont||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Virginia||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Washington||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-West Virginia||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|-Wisconsin||Present||Native||White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|American Samoa||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|Fiji||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|New Zealand||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Barker (2004); White-McLean and Redford (2011)|
|Norfolk Island||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|Papua New Guinea||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Wiktor (2000); AnimalBase (2015)|
|Pitcairn||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|Tonga||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|Argentina||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Martín et al. (2009)||Reserva de Usos Múltiples Isla Martin Garcia, Rio de la Plata superior|
|Brazil||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Maurer et al. (2002)|
|-Santa Catarina||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Maurer et al. (2002)||Agricultural pest|
|-Easter Island||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|Colombia||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Simroth (1910); Hausdorf (2002)||First reported: pre 1910|
|Peru||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hutchinson et al. (2014)|
|Uruguay||Present||Introduced||1963||Invasive||Campos and Calvo (2006)|
|Venezuela||Present||Introduced||Invasive||CABI (Undated)||First reported: pre 1970; Original citation: Fernandez de (1982)|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Very little is known about means, rate of travel and date of transfer of D. laeve into new territories. The greenhouse form of D. laeve recognised in Britain and Ireland (Rowson et al., 2014a; Rowson et al., 2014b) may have been accidentally introduced into new areas with horticultural produce. The transfer of D. laeve with agricultural materials of both forms is also possible but undocumented.
In 1897, D. laeve was first recorded in Hawaii (Cowie, 1997). Today it is believed that it is likely to be present on all of the main islands such as Lanai, Kauai, Oahu and Maui.
In South America, D. laeve was is believed to have been introduced by the agricultural trade and was recorded in Colombia before 1910, Uruguay in 1963, Chile in 1985 and Veneuzela before 1970 (de Fernandez, 1982; Cowie, 1997; Campos and Calov, 2006l; Araya, 2015).
In 2001, D. laeve was found in Duikar village, Gilgit District, northern Pakistan. This new record, the highest located in Karakoram, is believed to be an extension of its continuous distribution in the mid-Hunza river region (Hlavac, 2004).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Chile||1985||Crop production (pathway cause)||Yes||Araya (2015)|
|Colombia||Pre 1910||Crop production (pathway cause)||Yes||Cowie (1997)|
|Uruguay||1963||Crop production (pathway cause)||Yes||Campos and Calvo (2006)|
|Venezuela||Pre 1970||Crop production (pathway cause)||Yes||Fernandez de (1982)|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Due to the fact that D. laeve is present on all continents, except Antarctica, it is likely that the risk of this species being introduced into new areas is high. This is likely to occur accidentally with plants, good or waste including agricultural or garden waste (Thomas et al., 2010).
HabitatTop of page
D. laeve is partially amphibious and is present across a large range of habitats. These include moist habitats such as wet marshes, wet woodlands, fields, river banks and meadows and it can sometimes be found in greenhouses and as a garden pest (White-McLean and Redford, 2011). It is typically found from sea level to altitudes of greater than 4,800 m. In its native range, D. laeve takes refuge under leaf litter and woody debris (Thomas et al., 2010).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Cultivated / agricultural land||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production)||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Natural grasslands||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Cold lands / tundra||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
A wide range of plants are consumed by D. laeve including Fittonia, Datura stramonium and species of Lilium, Iris, Narcissus, Chrysanthemum, Fragaria and Cyclamen (Getz, 1959). In China D. laeve has been observed to feed on broad beans (Vicia faba) and species of Brassica in rural villages (Wiktor et al., 2000), in Canada on strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa) in farms (Prystupa et al., 1987) and in the USA on weeds and some crops in no-tillage cropping systems (Rogers et al., 1985). Its wild food has not been studied fully but probably includes both live and dead green plants in the habitats it frequents (Wiktor, 2000).
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Asparagus officinalis subsp. officinalis||Liliaceae||Main|
|Cucurbita maxima (giant pumpkin)||Cucurbitaceae||Main|
|Cucurbita pepo (marrow)||Cucurbitaceae||Main|
|Datura stramonium (jimsonweed)||Solanaceae||Main|
|Daucus carota (carrot)||Apiaceae||Main|
|Fragaria vesca (wild strawberry)||Rosaceae||Main|
|Lactuca sativa (lettuce)||Asteraceae||Main|
|Vicia faba (faba bean)||Fabaceae||Main|
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Post-harvest, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Fruit / external feeding|
|Growing point / external feeding|
|Inflorescence / external feeding|
|Leaves / external feeding|
|Leaves / frass visible|
|Leaves / shredding|
|Seeds / external feeding|
|Stems / external feeding|
|Vegetative organs / external feeding|
|Whole plant / external feeding|
|Whole plant / frass visible|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
D. laeve is an annual species and can grow rapidly to maturity in as little as a month (AnimalBase, 2015). It can potentially reproduce all year round (Jordaens et al., 2006). Although outcrossing has been recorded, many populations are aphallic and reproduce uniparentally. Eggs are laid singly or in small clusters, mainly in spring but probably at any time of year. They are large relative to the slug’s body size, at 2 x 1.5 mm and are translucent and finely punctuate, lacking a calcified shell (Quick, 1961).
Physiology and Phenology
This species lives in areas where it may be submerged frequently. As a result, it appears to be able to switch to anaerobiosis under water (Storey et al., 2007) and can survive immersion for days, as can its eggs. Juveniles can hatch under water and will migrate to the surface. As might be expected of a species which can live within the Arctic Circle, it has a wide temperature tolerance (0-30oC) and can survive freezing (Getz, 1959). A 100 fold increase in glucose levels have been recorded which are believed to provide a cryoprotective function during freezing (Storey et al., 2007).
D. laeve is a small, fast-moving and agile slug though not as irritable as D. invadens. Strikingly, it can continue to move flexibly under water and its pedal mucus does not seem to be easily washed off by immersion.
Maximum life span is about one year but it can progress from egg to maturity in about one month.
D. laeve can reproduce at almost any time of year in the temperate zone and probably in other regions of the world (Rowson et al., 2014a).
Deroceras laeve has a wide temperature tolerance and can survive five hours at -8°C, although not at -10°C (Getz, 1959). It is very hygrophilous and usually found in the vicinity of water where other slugs tend not to occur but can enter damp woodlands and farmland under suitable conditions (Rowson et al., 2014a).
ClimateTop of page
|C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate||Tolerated||Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C|
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Tolerated||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Df - Continental climate, wet all year||Preferred||Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)|
|Ds - Continental climate with dry summer||Tolerated||Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)|
|ET - Tundra climate||Tolerated||Tundra climate (Average temp. of warmest month < 10°C and > 0°C)|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-10|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||0||35|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||10||30|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||-5||5|
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Anas platyrhynchos||Predator||Adults/Juveniles||not specific|
|Cychrus caraboides||Predator||Eggs/Juveniles||not specific|
|Erinaceus europaeus||Predator||Adults||not specific|
|Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita||Parasite||Adults||not specific||Y|
|Silpha atrata||Predator||Adults/Juveniles||not specific|
|Tetanocera plebeja||Predator||not specific|
|Tetanocera valida||Predator||to genus|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Predators of D. laeve include a number of ground beetle species of the genera Carabus and Cychrus (for example Cychrus caraboides), silphid beetles such the European species Silpha atrata, and mammalian (Eurasian hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus) and aquatic bird predators (Anas platyrhynchos). In addition, species of Sciomyzidae (marsh or snail-killing flies) may be important in controlling numbers in natural habitats of the Palaearctic and Nearctic. Larval sciomyzids actively predate, or more often, parasitise gastropods in aquatic or semi-aquatic habitats. For instance, Tetanocera plebeia and T. valida are host specific as newly hatched larvae, for D. laeve and D. reticulatum (Trelka and Foote, 1970). In Europe T. elata is a potential biocontrol agent for D. reticulatum (Hynes et al., 2014) but also parasitises D. laeve.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
D. laeve can be naturally dispersed over short distances by water and flooding events (AnimalBase, 2015).
Passive migration on birds or mammals has not been recorded but is certainly possible, as with all invertebrates sharing aquatic habitats with migratory birds.
D. laeve may be accidentally introduced into new areas as a contaminant linked with the transport of food, consumed goods, or in garden waste.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
D. laeve can be a serious pest of greenhouses (Animalbase, 2015), feeding on both living and dead plant material (Wiktor, 2000). This species may also impact some no-tillage agricultural systems in the USA (Rogers et al., 1985). Estimates of economic losses due to this species have not been calculated.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Biodiversity
D. laeve sensu stricto is largely confined to habitats not occupied by many other slugs and rarely achieves population densities sufficient to impact natural plant communities. It may, however, have an impact on threatened plant species in vulnerable ecosystems (Joe and Daehler, 2008). There is some evidence indicating that D. laeve is impacting on the critically endangered Alsinidendron obovatum in Hawaii and also on Cyanea superba (Joe and Daehler, 2008).
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
Social ImpactTop of page
D. laeve is known as a host for a number of nematodes. These include Angiostrongylus costaricensis, which may infect humans if inadvertently ingested with vegetable crops in areas such as Brazil (Maurer et al., 2002), A. vasorum, a cardiopulmonary parasite in dogs and usually fatal (Nabais, 2012) and A. cantonensis, which has been reported to cause of eosinophilic meningoencephalitis in south-east Asia and the Pacific Islands (Wallace and Rosen, 1969).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Tolerant of shade
- Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Reproduces asexually
- Has high genetic variability
- Changed gene pool/ selective loss of genotypes
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Pest and disease transmission
- Interaction with other invasive species
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
D. laeve can be used in the laboratory as a research model.
Uses ListTop of page
- Laboratory use
- Research model
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Other species with which D. laeve has undoubtedly been confused in the past include D. invadens and perhaps D. panormitanum sensu stricto, but to a much less degree (Reise et al., 2011). It is generally assumed that the best distinguishing features from these species is their larger size (25-35 mm) and consistently white-rimmed respiratory orifice. However, in North America D. laeve is known to grow larger than in Europe (also true of other warm countries) and specimens with white-rimmed respiratory orifices are not unknown (Hutchinson et al., 2014). The only safe way of distinguishing the native D.laeve in the USA (and elsewhere) is by dissection.
Little is known of a genetically distinct "greenhouse" form of D. laeve which, while larger and possibly differing in colour from the nominotypical form (Rowson et al., 2014b), has not yet been reliably identified outside Britain and Ireland.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita is a nematode parasite of slugs which, though most effective in controlling D. reticulatum can also kill other species of Deroceras (Speiser et al., 2001). However, this form of control is uneconomic for field crops at present.
Formulations of copper, metaldehyde and methiocarb were assessed for their efficacy in controlling D. laeve. Prystuppa et al. (1987) found that 2% methiocarb was the most effective treatment with copper failing to provide significant mortalities. It has been suggested that when applied at high concentrations, metaldehyde may act as a repellant to D. laeve and it has been suggested the efficacy of carbamates would be increased if slugs can get to water after treatment (Osborne, 2015).
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
Although D. laeve has been introduced into nearly all regions in the world, there is no clear information on the pathways of dispersal. Studies in this area would be relevant to interrupt transit and prevent new introductions. In addition to this, further studies are required to determine population numbers of this species in its native range as it is believed that they are declining as a result of construction and subsequent habitat destruction (AnimalBase, 2015).
ReferencesTop of page
AnimalBase, 2015. AnimalBase. Göttingen, Germany: University of Göttingen. http://www.animalbase.org/
Araya JF, 2015. Current status of the non-indigenous molluscs in Chile, with the first record of Otala punctata (Müller, 1774) (Gastropoda: Helicidae) in the country and new records for Cornu aspersum (Müller, 1774) and Deroceras laeve (Müller, 1774). Journal of Natural History, 49(29/30):1731-1761. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tnah20
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Hausdorf B, 2002. Introduced land snails and slugs in Colombia. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 68:127-131.
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Maurer RL; Graeff-Teixeira C; Thomé JW; Chiaradia LA; Sugaya H; Yoshimura K, 2002. Natural infection of Deroceras laeve (Mollusca: Gastropoda) with metastrongylid larvae in a transmission focus of abdominal angiostrongyliasis. Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo, 44(1):53-54.
Nabais JNP, 2012. Aelurostrongylus abstrusus and Angiostrongylus vasorum (nematoda: angiostrongylidae) infection in cats and dogs in the district of Lisbon, Portugal. (Infecção por Aelurostrongylus abstrusus e Angiostrongylus vasorum (Nematoda: Angiostrongylidae), em gatos e cães no distrito de Lisboa, Portugal.) Dissertação de Mestrado Integrado em Medicina Veterinária. Lisbon, Portugal: Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, 80 pp.
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Prystupa BD; Holliday NJ; Webster GRB, 1987. Molluscicide efficacy against the marsh slug, Deroceras laeve (Stylommatophora: Limacidae), on strawberries in Manitoba. Journal of Economic Entomology, 80(4):936-943.
Reise H; Hutchinson JMC; Schunack S; Schlitt B, 2011. Deroceras panormitanum and congeners from Malta and Sicily, with a redescription of the widespread pest slug as Deroceras invadens N. sp. Folia Malacologica, 19(4):201-223. http://versita.metapress.com/link.asp?target=contribution&id=E8257X5567027763
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Rowson B; Anderson R; Turner JA; Symondson WOC, 2014. The slugs of Britain and Ireland: undetected and undescribed species increase a well-studied, economically important fauna by more than 20%. PLoS ONE, 9:e91907.
Rowson B; Turner J; Anderson R; Symondson W, 2014. Slugs of Britain and Ireland: identification, understanding and control. Telford, UK: Field Studies Council, 136 pp.
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Simroth H, 1910. [English title not available]. (Nacktschneckenstudien in den Sudalpen.) Abhandlungen der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft, 32:275-348.
Storey KB; Storey JM; Churchill TA, 2007. Freezing and anoxia tolerance of slugs: a metabolic perspective. Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology, 177(8):833-840. http://www.springerlink.com/content/mg0l5021041h7554/?p=27d9e75e744647b18158a7224d5a28a9&pi=0
Tsai C-I; Wu S-K, 2008. A new Meghimatium slug (Pulmonata: Philomycidae) from Taiwan. Zoological Studies, 47(6):759-766.
White-McLean J; Redford A, 2011. Terrestrial mollusc tool. USA: USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST. http://idtools.org/id/mollusc/
Wiktor A; Chen D; Wu M, 2000. Stylommatophoran slugs of China (GastropdaPulmonata) - prodromus. Folia Malacologica, 8(1):3-36.
AnimalBase, 2015. AnimalBase., Göttingen, Germany: University of Göttingen. http://www.animalbase.org/
Araya J F, 2015. Current status of the non-indigenous molluscs in Chile, with the first record of Otala punctata (Müller, 1774) (Gastropoda: Helicidae) in the country and new records for Cornu aspersum (Müller, 1774) and Deroceras laeve (Müller, 1774). Journal of Natural History. 49 (29/30), 1731-1761. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tnah20
Barker G M, 2004. Natural enemies of terrestrial molluscs. [ed. by Barker G M]. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. x + 644 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20043115141 DOI:10.1079/9780851993195.0000
CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI
CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI
CABI, Undated b. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Campos J, Calvo A, 2006. [English title not available]. (Moluscos introducidos en Uruguay). In: Comunicaciones de la Sociedad Malacológica del Uruguay, 9 (89) 75-78.
Cockerell TDA, 1927. Zoology of Colorado., Denver, Colorado, USA: Welch-Haffner Printing. 262 pp.
Fauna Europea, 2015. Fauna Europea database., European Commission. http://www.faunaeur.org/
Forsyth RG, 2005. Terrestrial gastropods of the upper Fraser basin of British Columbia., Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Royal British Columbia Museum. 26 pp.
Hlavac JC, 2004. A new record of Deroceras laeve (O. Müller, 1774) from Pakistan (gastropoda: pulmonata: agriolimacidae). In: Folia Malacologica, 12 (4) 181-182.
Hutchinson J M C, Reise H, Robinson D G, 2014. A biography of an invasive terrestrial slug: the spread, distribution and habitat of Deroceras invadens. NeoBiota. 17-64. http://neobiota.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=4006
Lepitzki DAW, 2001. Gastropods: 2000 preliminary status ranks for Alberta. Unpublished report prepared for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: Fish and Wildlife Division. 126 pp.
Ludwig A, Reise H, Hutchinson J M C, 2015. The slug fauna of gardens in the town of Görlitz (Saxony, Germany). (Die Nacktschneckenfauna in Gärten der Stadt Görlitz (Sachsen, Deutschland).). Berichte der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft der Oberlausitz. 43-57. http://www.naturforschende-gesellschaft-der-oberlausitz.de/Publikationen
Martín S M, César I I, Liberto R, 2009. Distribution of Deroceras reticulatum (Müller, 1774) (Pulmonata Stylommatophora) in Argentina with first record of the Reserva de Usos Múltiples Isla Martin Garcia, Río de la Plata superior. Brazilian Journal of Biology. 69 (4), 1115-1119. http://www.bjb.com.br DOI:10.1590/S1519-69842009000500015
Maurer R L, Graeff-Teixeira C, Thomé J W, Chiaradia L A, Sugaya H, Yoshimura K, 2002. Natural infection of Deroceras laeve (Mollusca: Gastropoda) with metastrongylid larvae in a transmission focus of abdominal angiostrongyliasis. Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo. 44 (1), 53-54. DOI:10.1590/S0036-46652002000100009
Prystupa B D, Holliday N J, Webster G R B, 1987. Molluscicide efficacy against the marsh slug, Deroceras laeve (Stylommatophora: Limacidae), on strawberries in Manitoba. Journal of Economic Entomology. 80 (4), 936-943. DOI:10.1093/jee/80.4.936
Robinson DG, Hovestadt A, Fields A, Breure ASH, 2009. The land Mollusca of Dominica (Lesser Antilles), with notes on some enigmatic or rare species. In: Zoologische Mededelingen Leiden, 83 615-650.
Roth B, Lindberg DR, 1981. Terrestrial mollusks of Attu, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. In: Arctic, 34 (1) 43-47.
Simroth H, 1910. [English title not available]. (Nacktschneckenstudien in den Sudalpen). In: Abhandlungen der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft, 32 275-348.
Tsai CI, Wu SK, 2008. A new Meghimatium slug (Pulmonata: Philomycidae) from Taiwan. In: Zoological Studies, 47 (6) 759-766.
White-McLean J, Redford A, 2011. Terrestrial mollusc tool., USA: USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST. http://idtools.org/id/mollusc/
Wiktor A, Chen D, Wu M, 2000. Stylommatophoran slugs of China (GastropdaPulmonata) - prodromus. In: Folia Malacologica, 8 (1) 3-36.
ContributorsTop of page
23/11/15 Original text by:
Roy Anderson, Consultant, Northern Ireland
Distribution MapsTop of page
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