The Poweshiek Skipper Project

Terrestrial Snails


 Deroceras laeve (O.F. Müller, 1774)

Meadow slug

Records for slugs in general are pretty limited, although this slug seems to be found pretty much in all of the eastern United States, according to the range maps provided by Hubricht.

This slug is also known as Deroceras gracile and Limax laevis along with a number of other scientific names.

It seems that there are two similar slugs found in Iowa, the native D. laeve and the non-native D. reticulatum.   Keys differentiate between the two on the basis of color--laeve being black and reticulatum gray, reticulatum having a white area around the breathing pore, and reticulatum having a milky mucus.  Reticulatum is also larger than laeve.

I saw no milky mucus and the slug was only about an inch long so I think it was laeve.

This slug appeared very black when I photographed it, but the flash made the slug look lighter.

This slug suddenly appeared on a backyard tree after a rain.


There is a lot of work that needs to be done with slugs, even at the most fundamental taxonomic level.  Shells of snails are easily preserved, but slugs have greatly reduced internal shells.  Slugs have been collected much less frequently than snails and have often been poorly preserved. 

Still, they are fairly charming creatures.