One of the most harmful slugs in the world observed in Martinique

Since the beginning of 2022, sharp increases in sightings of the species, accompanied by nuisances in gardens and private homes are the reason for the report. This is what we learn this month on the resource center website: invasive alien species.

Introduced on several Caribbean islands and on the North American continent, this slug is said to have originated from Jamaica. Now present in Florida, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, St. Vincent, St. Lucia Bermuda, Cuba, Grand Cayman Island and possibly other islands in the Big and Small West Indies, it was detected for the first time in Guadeloupe in 2004, constituting its first report for France.

The presence of this species outside its native range is attracting increasing attention, particularly in Florida where significant impacts on crops have led to it being considered a major pest.

It was last July 4 in the Zobéïde district of Morne Rouge that the DAAF recovered specimens of a particularly voracious and large species of slug (more than 10 cm). According to testimonies from farmers in the town, the slug has actually been present for several years. “without it arousing an alert from these professionals”.

12 centimeters long

L. sloanii can reach 12 cm in length and is the largest slug observed in the Caribbean. In the adult stage, the color of its coat varies from one individual to another, ranging from pale beige to brown through shades of gray. This mottled light appearance has earned it the more common name “Pancake slug” attributed by New Pet (NAC) enthusiasts.

Black spots (or speckles) on the dorsal side merge to form two longitudinal black lines. In juveniles these two lines are well defined and then fade with the maturity of the individual.

Apart from color variations, all individuals of this species have in common the presence around the eyes of gray eye tentacles with brown tips. This character constitutes the only observable common criterion between all the populations present in the Caribbean. In addition to these few determination criteria, the identification of this slug to the rank of the species requires the dissection of the genitalia.

This slug is a simultaneous hermaphrodite, that is, an individual has both male and female genitalia. The introduction of a single egg outside its area of ​​origin could therefore allow the spread of the species. It can lay 30 eggs of 5 mm in diameter per clutch and the hatching time in captivity is 15 days at a temperature of 24°C.

Harmful

In Martinique, Leidyula Sloanii has been located in Morne Rouge and Saint-Marie for the moment. But veterinary experts are worried. In Florida, the slug causes significant damage to cultivated agricultural and ornamental species. “Local experts consider it one of the most damaging slugs in the world for crops”specifies the note of the CDR-EEE.

They eat all kinds of bananas, peas, eggplant, brassicas (broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower), carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, but also fruits, especially citrus fruits.

In addition to the reports to the DAAF which will make it possible to better locate the hope, the CDR-EEE advances that as for other slugs, table salt or tobacco dust, as well as molluscicide powders, have already been used. to control its populations.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *