British Columbia

Slug with interesting mating life spotted in Comox Valley

Limax Maximus, literally the biggest slug, is a ferociously speedy nocturnal predator with an interesting sex life according to a local biologist.

Originally from Europe, Limax Maximus, is described as a terror for gardeners

Limax Maximus, a ferocious predator in the slug world, has most recently been reported in the Comox Valley. (Loys Maingon)

Limax Maximus, literally the biggest slug, is a ferociously speedy nocturnal predator with an interesting sex life according to a local biologist.

"They wave their penises in the air and the penises stick together and transfer organs. Now once they finish hours of mating, they are literally stuck together. So one of them cuts off the other's penis and turns it into a female," explained  Comox Valley Nature biologist Loys Maingon, who was given the creature to identify.

Like all slugs, Limax Maximus is hermaphroditic. The invasive species is a terror for gardeners says Maingon, because it reproduces twice as fast as other slugs and feeds on anything.

The slug was most recently spotted in the Comox Valley, which surprised Maingon because it is originally from Europe.

Also known as the great grey slug, Limax Maximus travels at a pace of 40 meters an hour, which is four times as far as the average slug's 10 meters per hour.

This speedy gonzales of slugs even has racing stripes and spots. It was thought to be making its way up north due to climate change, said Maingon.

"Our climates are getting milder as we move North. We had this extended drought as you know. Things were considerably warmer."

"It is following something like the vine route...and the Comox Valley, as many know, is the northern extension of our Mediterranean climate."

The slug first invaded the Lower Mainland in 1954 eventually winding up on Salt Spring Island. In 1998 it reached Victoria. Last year it was also reported in the Okanagan, according to records that Maingon looked up.


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled invasive slug found in Comox Valley on CBC's On the Island.

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