A species of slug previously unknown in the N.W.T. has been found near Hay River, say researchers.

Deroceras reticulatum — otherwise known as the Grey Field Slug — is native to Western Europe. 

Dwayne Lepitzki, a specialist in molluscs, says the slug has been widely introduced to many parts of the world but this is the first time it's been found in the N.W.T.

"When you have a brand new species introduced into a brand new area that they've never been exposed before, a lot of things can happen," he said. "They can out-compete the native species — essentially wreak havoc on the ecosystem because they aren't typically found in that area."

Lepitzki says the slug was one of three species a team of scientists collected this month that have never been reported before in the Northwest Territories. He says the researchers are continuing to work on the samples they've collected.

The new species will be added to the official mollusc list for the N.W.T.