Florida Leatherleaf Slug

I walk through my yard every morning pretending that our leaf piles are not full of these three-inch-long, flat slugs. I love slugs, but I’d prefer not to step on one!

Florida leatherleaf slugs (Leidyula floridana), like other terrestrial slugs, eat fungi, decaying plant matter, and sometimes live plants. They are generally active in damp, dark areas because they need to keep their bodies moist. They are close relatives of snails, and, like snails, leave a trail of slime/mucus wherever they go — this sticky coat helps them conserve moisture and helps them adhere to whatever they’re moving on. (Some slugs have bad-tasting slime that helps deter predators, but I don’t think this one does.)

Most slugs are hermaphrodites, able to perform male or female reproductive functions, or even both at once. This makes them especially pestiferous, because even one slug can give rise to a whole population of them.

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