Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Arion agg.

On our walk this morning, we were struck by the number of very large slugs which were sliming their way across the paths. As ever, the biggest we saw were members of what is called,an aggregate species called Arion ater. Often called Black Slugs, they actually come in a range of colours including - as well as black - red, brown and creamy-white. This one was a particularly fine example of the red form.
The foot fringe (rather like the skirt around a small hovercraft) is striped vertically, red and black. At the front end, the optical and sensory tentacles had a bluish tinge to them and this one was displaying a large mantle (the saddle-like, oval organ on it's back.)
Black Slugs, (Arion ater agg.) is native to the UK but it is extremely difficult to distinguish from the introduced species called the  Red Slug (Arion rufus.) For this reason, they are usually lumped together in the same aggregate.
Moving on to more 'cuddly' things, we also saw a family of newly-hatched Mallard ducklings as we walked past Osborne's Pond.
A very proud mother was shepherding her brood of eight youngsters across the water looking very pleased with what is probably her second brood of the year. They were certainly more fluffy and conventionally attractive than the slugs!
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