LARGE BLACK SLUG
Possessors of a strange beauty, but undeniably slimy, these invertebrates produce three different types of mucus: one as a lubricant for movement, one to prevent them drying out, and one particularly unappetizing type (that may also contain toxins) to deter predators. Also in their defensive armoury is the ability to contract to a hemispherical shape and rock from side to side to confuse attackers. They need a moist environment to facilitate this mucus production, so they’ll be happy in Otley today. Black Slugs are omnivorous, and as decomposers/consumers they play an important part in the health of the ecosystem, and a recent study suggested they may also promote plant diversity. Another study of the presence of mercury in their bodies determined that they could be useful to us in monitoring heavy metal pollution levels. The Black Slug is a hermaphrodite that prefers to find a mate but can self-fertilize. They are edible, but taste horrible (I know you were tempted).
Photo by Pixabay