Identify a slug - student sheet

Information sheet

This worksheet will help you gather information to try to identify some common British slug species using the web-based ID guide by The Conchological Society

  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science

Slug body parts

Use the ‘Identify a slug – body parts’ spotter guide to help you answer the questions below. The spotter guide explains the words used here, and the photographs will also be helpful to refer back to. It may sometimes be very difficult to identify a slug – especially if it is not fully grown. Why not use this to help you identify the slugs you find in your school garden?

Note: This guide will not help to identify snails!

Shell

Does your slug have a visible shell? *        Yes ❏     No ❏

If it has a shell, what size is it? ............................cm

If your slug has a shell, draw a picture of it in the box below: 

 

Size

How long is your slug? ........................cm
 

How long is the mantle of your slug? ....................cm
 

Mantle

Is the slug’s breathing pore in the front half of the mantle or the back half?*

Front (nearer head) ❏           Back (behind middle of mantle) ❏

What colour is the rim of the breathing pore?.....................................

Does the mantle have rings on it a bit like a fingerprint?     Yes ❏      No ❏

If so, are these rings centred in the middle of the mantle or off to the right near the breathing pore?
Centre ❏        To the right ❏

Colour

Upper body colour.......................................

Mantle colour................................................

Side colour....................................................

Sole colour....................................................

Foot fringe colour.........................................

Tentacle colour.............................................

Does your slug have any stripes or spots?.........................................

What colour and position are they?......................................................

Tail

Does your slug have a keel? *          Yes ❏       No ❏

If so, how far does the keel go from the tail-tip?*
all the way from tail-tip to mantle ❏          partway ❏

Is the tail-tip gradual or steep (truncated)?..........................................
Draw the tail shape (side view) in the box below:

 

Sole

Are there v- shaped marks (chevrons) in the middle of the sole?    Yes ❏    No ❏

Mucus

Is the mucus sticky?    Yes ❏     No ❏

What colour is the mucus? (This may be different on the top of the body and the sole)

....................................................................................................................

Use the space below to dab the mucus to see what colour it is.

 

Body

Are the tubercles coarse or fine?........................................

When alarmed or resting the slug may contract its body. What shape does the slug’s body make when it is contracted?
Draw this in the three boxes below. 

Draw the slug's body side view here:
 
Draw the cross-section view here: 
 
Draw the view from above here:
 

The Slug Families

You can determine which family your slug belongs to by answering just the questions marked with *

Testacellidae – The shelled slugs
These slugs have a small but visible shell near their tails. They have grooves running down the sides of their bodies between the head and the shell.


 

Arionidae
This family of slugs have their breathing pore in the front half of the mantle. They have no keel on their tails. Adults are usually 1.5-14 cm long and they come in many shades of brown, red, black and yellow.


 

Milacidae – The long-keeled slugs
The long-keeled slugs are named because they have a keel that extends all the way from their tail tip to their mantle. Their breathing pore is in the back half of the mantle.


 

Limacidae and Agriolimacidae – The short-keeled slugs
The short keeled slugs also have their breathing pore in the back half of the mantle but their keel only goes partway up their back.


Equipment Needed

  • Slugs
  • Print-out of 'Identify a slug - body parts'
  • Identify a slug - student sheet (you will need to print a copy for each slug you identify)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Internet access
  • Pens or pencils
  • Spare paper for notes

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