Arionidae

Arionidae Gray, 1840

Languages: English

Overview

Biology

The center of diversity for the family is the western Palearctic, especially the Iberian peninsula (Wiktor 1996).

About 35 species are in the genera Arion, Geomalacus, and Letourneuxia (Barker & Efford 2004).

Author(s): Paustian, Megan
Rights holder(s): Paustian, Megan

Description

Morphology

External:  Plain or striped body; mantle lies on the anterior part of the body; pneumostome anterior to midpoint on right side of mantle; granular skin on mantle; round tail with caudal pit at tip, no keel;  wide foot fringe; sole one part.

Internal:  Internal shell small and plate-like or just vestigial calcareous granules; Jaw odontognathic, ribbed; radular teeth: central tricuspid, lateral bi- or tricuspid, marginal bicuspid, all having broad bases, teeth often accreted; heart, in relation to body axis, is titled to the left; Kidney circular (surrounding aorta); cephalic retractors tend to divide into separate branches attached independently to the posterior part of pallial complex; 2-loop digestive system; male copulatory organs generally reduced, their role being taken over by a well-developed atrium and epiphallus that produces spermatophores; thus, no penis, just long epiphallus; no vagina; ligula in atrium or end of oviduct (Wiktor 2001).

Author(s): Paustian, Megan; www.animalbase.org (F. Welter Schultes)
Rights holder(s): Paustian, Megan; www.animalbase.org (F. Welter Schultes)

Size

Up to 250 mm long, but usually much shorter.

Author(s): www.animalbase.org (F. Welter Schultes)
Rights holder(s): www.animalbase.org (F. Welter Schultes)

Ecology and Distribution

Distribution

Native throughout Europe and north to Scandinavia, N Africa down to the Sahara, with some species in Asia east to the Urals (and Siberia); major speciation center in Iberian Peninsula (De Winter 1986; Wiktor et al. 2000); not in the Caucasus or Black Sea region (Wiktor 1983).

Author(s): Paustian, Megan
Rights holder(s): Paustian, Megan

Ecology

For its defense, an arionid slug will retract its head, become hemispherical, and stick down to the substrate. Many Arion species have extra colored pigment as a deterent in the slime that they produce when perturbed (Rollo & Wellington 1979).

Author(s): Paustian, Megan
Rights holder(s): Paustian, Megan

Trophic Strategy

Consumes plant, fungus and sometimes feces, carrion (Herbert 1997).

Author(s): Paustian, Megan
Rights holder(s): Paustian, Megan

References

Barker, GM., & Efford MG. (2004).  Predatory gastropods as natural enemies of terrestrial gastropods and other invertebrates. (Barker G., Ed.).Natural Enemies of Terrestrial Molluscs. 279-403. Cambridge, MA: CABI Publishing.
Castillejo, J. (1997).  Las babosas de la familia Arionidae Gray, 1840 en la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. Morfología y distribución (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Terrestria Nuda). Rev. Real Acad. Gal. Cien.. 16, 51-118.
d'Audebard de Férussac, A. E. J. P. J., & Deshayes G. - P. (Submitted).  Histoire naturelle générale et particulière des mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles, tant des espèces que l'on trouve aujourd'hui vivantes, que des dépouilles fossiles de celles qui n'existent plus; classés d'après les caractères essentiels que présenten. Tome 1: 8 + 184 pp.; Tome 2 (1): 402 pp.; 2 (2): 260 + 22 + 16 pp.; Atlas 1: 70 pl.; Atlas 2: 166 + 5 pl.
Herbert, DG. (1997).  The terrestrial slugs of KwaZulu-Natal: diversity, biogeography and conservation. Ann. Natal Mus.. 38, 197-239.
Pilsbry, HA. (1948).  Land Mollusca of North America north of Mexico. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia Monograph. 3, 748-770.
Quick, HE. (1960).  British slugs (Pulmonata: Testacellidae, Arionidae, Limacidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Zoology. 6, 103-226.
Schultes, W. F. (2010).  Arion.
Wiktor, A. (1983).  The slugs of Bulgaria (Arionidae, Milacidae, Limacidae, Agriolimacidae - Gastropoda, Stylommatophora). Annales Zoologici. 37(3), 71-205.
Wiktor, A. (2001).  Fauna Graeciae VIII: The slugs of Greece (Arionidae, Milacidae, Limacidae, Agriolimacidae - Gastropoda, Stylommatophora). Irakleio: Natural History Museum of Crete, University of Crete.
Wiktor, A., & Parejo C. (1989).  Arion (Kobeltia) paularensis sp. n. from Central Spain (Gastropoda, Pulmonata: Arionidae). Malakologische Abhandlungen. 14(4), 27-33.
Wiktor, A., Chen DN., & Wu M. (2000).  Stylommatophoran slugs of China (Gastropoda: Pulmonata) – Prodromus. Folia Malacologia. 8(1), 3-35.