Saturday 25 May
Caterpillar slug (Laevicaulis haroldi)
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Caterpillar slug fact file
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Caterpillar slug description
This distinctive-looking species earns its common name for its unusual resemblance to a caterpillar, largely due to its somewhat wrinkled appearance and colour pattern. The long, slender body varies in shade, but usually displays bold alternating bands of dark brown and cream colour, with a paler mid-region and darker ends. The upper tentacles are pale brown, the lower ones greyish, and the sole (underside) of the foot is a slightly translucent cream colour (2)
- Extended length: up to 90 mm (2)
Caterpillar slug biologyTop
Caterpillar slug range
Known only from a few isolated localities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa(2).Top
Caterpillar slug habitat
From the limited data available, the caterpillar slug appears to be associated with marshes and waterside vegetation, although it may not be exclusive to such habitat (2).Top
Caterpillar slug status
Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).Top
Caterpillar slug threats
The caterpillar slug is threatened by habitat loss and degradation as a result of ongoing urbanisation and development within its range. The original site of collection in a marsh near Durban has since been destroyed to make way for a road. These threats are exacerbated by the slug’s already restricted range, which makes it especially vulnerable to the effects of its changing environment (2).Top
Caterpillar slug conservation
Although there are currently no conservation measures directly targeting the caterpillar slug, individuals have been observed in Hluhluwe Game Reserve, where its habitat may receive some protection. Furthermore, its appearance in suburban gardens in the Pietermaritzburg area suggests that this slug may be adaptable to a certain degree of habitat modification, flexibility that would undoubtedly help its prospects of survival (2).Top
Find out more
For more information on the caterpillar slug see:
- Herbert, D.G. & Kilburn, R.N. (2004) Field guide to the land snails and slugs of eastern South Africa. 340pp. Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg.
Authenticated (13/07/2006) by Dr. Dai G. Herbert, Chief Curator: Mollusca, Natal Museum, and member of the IUCN/SSC Southern African Invertebrate, and Mollusc Specialist Groups.
- Diet comprises only vegetable matter.
- IUCN Red List (July, 2006)
- Inland Invertebrate Initiative: Database of Threatened Invertebrates of South Africa (July, 2006)
- Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (July, 2006)
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