IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

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Limax maximus, known also as “the giant garden slug,” is an invasive, terrestrial member of the phylum Mollusca, class gastropoda (Gaitán-Espitia 2012). Some other common names include “tiger slug” and “great grey slug” (McDonnell et. al. 2009). Recognizable by its black spots and yellowish-gray body coloration, this slug can reach lengths of 100 mm or greater (Simpson 1901). This gastropod’s native geographic distribution is in Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor (Western Palearctic) (Gaitán-Espitia 2012). These slugs are constricted to living in places where they can have easy access to water since they have poor ability to retain water and easily dry out during the day (Kaya and Mitani 2000). Therefore, this need for moisture is partially why this mollusk is nocturnal (Boycott 1934). It has been introduced as a troublesome pest to North America, New Zealand, South America, Australia, and some Pacific Islands (Gaitán-Espitia 2012). The amount of dampness in an area determines the time able to be spent breeding and feeding since water is necessary to form mucus for movement and eating (Boycott 1934). Also known as the “greenhouse slug,” this invader is a generalist that has wreaked havoc on horticultural plants worldwide (Kaya and Mitani 2000). This gastropod eats fresh and rotting plants, more specifically tubers, fruits, leaves, roots, bulb flowers, ornamental plants, and perennial herbs (Kozlowski 2012). Though these slugs are simultaneous hermaphrodites, they are unable to self-fertilize (Simpson 1901). Instead, a unique, complex, lengthy mating procession occurs in which male parts of two of these gastropods intertwine (Pilsbry 1948). These slugs tend to not be seen in groups (McDonnell et. al. 2009).

Boycott, A. E. 1934. The Habitats of Land Mollusca in Britain. Journal of Ecology 22:1–38.

Gaitán-Espitia, J. D., M. Franco, J. L. Bartheld, and R. F. Nespolo. 2012. Repeatability of energy metabolism and resistance to dehydration in the invasive slug Limax maximus. Invertebrate Biology 131:11–18.

Kaya, H. K., and D. K. Mitani. 1999. Molluscicidal Nematodes for Biological Control of Pest Slugs. Pages 1–4. . Davis.

Kozłowski, J. 2012. The Significance of Alien and Invasive Slug Species for Plant Communities in Agrocenoses. Journal of Plant Protection Research 52:67–77.

Mc Donnell, R. J., T. D. Timothy D. Paine, and M. J. Gormally. 2009. Slugs: A Guide to the Invasive and Native Fauna of California. Pages 1–21. Oakland.

Pilsbry, H. A. 1948. Land Mollusca of North America: (north of Mexico). The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 2:524–527.

Simpson, G. B. 1901. Anatomy and Physiology of Polygyra albolabris and Limax maximus and Embryology of Limax Maximus. Bulletin of the New York State Museum 8:244, 277–279, 290–294.


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