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striped slug

Arion silvaticus

What do they look like?

Adults of this species of slug grow to about 3.8 cm long. It is a pale gray with two stripes along each side of its body. Beneath the stripes, the body is whitish. There are no stripes on the edge of the muscular foot's edge. A breathing pore is located on the mantle near the head.

  • Average length
    3.8 cm
    1.50 in

Where do they live?

This European slug is an introduced species in Michigan.

What kind of habitat do they need?

Striped slugs are found in moist areas of woods or near freshwater shores.

How long do they live?

Striped slugs may live to be 7 1/2 months to 1 year old.

  • Range lifespan
    Status: wild
    7.5 to 12.0 months

How do they behave?

This is a slow-moving slug, covering approximately 35 inches per night. During the warmer days of spring, striped slugs become active. They become inactive at 41 degrees F.

When irritated, striped slugs will exude slime and retract their tentacles.

How do they communicate with each other?

This slug is capable of detecting odors.

What do they eat?

These slugs feed on grasses, flowering bulbs such as irises, lilies and tulips, jimson weed and the leaves of some vegetables. They feed at night or on cloudy days. When feeding, they raise their tentacles and use their radula, the hard, scraping part of their mouth, to consume vegetation.

What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten?

What roles do they have in the ecosystem?

These slugs may be parasitized by nematode worms or parasitic flies and larvae. This slug might be an intermediate host for trematode worms.

They may contribute to nutrient cycling.

Commensal or parasitic species (or larger taxonomic groups) that use this species as a host
  • protozoans

Do they cause problems?

Striped slugs are considered to be garden pests, eating grasses, bulbs, and some vegetables.

  • Ways that these animals might be a problem for humans
  • crop pest

How do they interact with us?

As a detritus feeder, these slugs create humus. In addition, their slime trails and waste have been shown to help leaf litter decompose. They help soil maintain lots of good microorganisms.

By looking at the chemicals in slugs' bodies, we can learn what pollution is in an environment.

  • Ways that people benefit from these animals:
  • produces fertilizer

Some more information...

There are several related species that may be difficult to tell apart.


Janice Pappas (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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Pappas, J. . "Arion silvaticus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 16, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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