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Right-hand drive

May 22, 2016
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It did not take much rain to bring out the mushrooms – and all the fauna that rely on mushrooms as a food source. One of those creatures is a slug, a name used generically to include all snails that do not have a shell. Scientifically slugs make up a group of gastropods (snails) that have lungs instead of gills.

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Slugs, it turns out, are fascinating creatures. Most have two sets of feelers (pictured above). The larger pair, set high on the head, contains light sensing organs and is tipped by eye-spots. Lower down, the smaller feelers give the slug a sense of smell. When threatened, the slug can retract these feelers. In addition the slug will produce extra mucus on its body to make it difficult for a predator to pick it up.

slug DSCN9989

On the right hand side of a slug is the pneumostome, an opening through which air is drawn into the single lung-like organ. If you look closely at the photo (immediately above) you can just make out the opening. Slugs are also simultaneously hermaphroditic meaning that they have both sex organs at the same time. They are located near the head. During mating, fertilisation of the eggs occurs in both partners. Afterwards each goes off to lay eggs.  Incidentally the sex organs are also located on the right-hand side of the body.

It makes one wonder whether in Europe and the US, the slugs have all their organs on the left-hand side.

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