on apple tree
in a rural area we have to protect our fruit trees from marauding
opossums and to do this we wrap lightweight tin round the trunk
to stop them climbing up, which works fine. This year when we took
the tin off to replace it I noticed these odd-looking slugs. Can
you tell me more about them?
FORWARDED your photo to Landcare Research in Canterbury and scientist
Gary Barker identified them as the native slug Athoracophorus
bitentaculatus which is relatively widespread in both the North
and South Islands. There is not a lot written about native slugs,
but in a Dominion Post article in March this year Dr David Burton
of Victoria University's school of biological sciences is quoted
as saying, "Native slugs don't eat cabbages. They eat encrusted
algae on leaves. Once you start to look at them they're unique.
There's nothing in the world like them. They prefer living inside
rotten logs where they can get away from predators such as weka."
So your apple tree slug
isn't doing the tree any harm - it's enjoying the nice atmosphere
you've created under the tin possum deterrent. Like the pesky introduced
slugs which cause havoc in our gardens, the native ones are hermaphrodite,
meaning they possess both male and female reproductive organs, though
mating with another slug does still take place. They lay around
50-60 eggs and can live for about four years."
Gardener, Issue 181, 2005, Page 36
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.