Deroceras reticulatum

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Deroceras reticulatum
Deroceras reticulatum.JPG
adult Deroceras reticulatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Heterobranchia
clade Euthyneura
clade Panpulmonata
clade Eupulmonata
clade Stylommatophora
informal group Sigmurethra
clade limacoid clade
Superfamily: Limacoidea
Family: Agriolimacidae
Genus: Deroceras
Species: D. reticulatum
Binomial name
Deroceras reticulatum
(O. F. Müller, 1774)[2]

Limax reticulatus Müller, 1774

Deroceras reticulatum, common names the "grey field slug" and "grey garden slug", is a species of small air-breathing land slug, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Agriolimacidae. This species is an important agricultural pest.


The native distribution of this slug species is European.[4] It is native to Europe, North Africa and the Atlantic Islands.[3] It occurs widely in Europe, but is more rare and restricted to cultivated fields in the southeast, particularly in the Balkans, and is probably absent from Greece and the Bulgarian mountains.[3] In the north and central European lowlands, Great Britain, and Ireland, it is probably the most widely occurring slug.[3] In northern Scandinavia it is scarce, and is mainly found as a synanthrope.[3]

This species occurs in countries and islands including:

The species has been widely introduced as a synanthrope to many regions:


Drawing of the reproductive system of Deroceras reticulatum.
a - atrium
p - penis
s - stimulator
mr - musculus retractor penis
gp - glandula penis
bc - bursa copulatrix
ov - oviductus.
Deroceras reticulatum

As all other Deroceras it has a short keel at the back of the body. Deroceras reticulatum is very variable in colour, creamy or light coffee cream, rarely blackish spotted (slugs with spots may appear blackish).[3] Behind the mantle there is the dark spots form a reticulate pattern.[3] The skin is thick.[3] Mucus is colourless, on irritation milky white.[3] The slug cannot be distinguished from many other Deroceras species based only on its external appearance.[3]

This slug can be up to 40–60 mm long (preserved 25–30 mm).[3] The size varies according to the habitat.[3]

Reproductive system: Penis is fleshy and with a silky sheen, in the shape of an irregular sac, in fully mature specimens divided into 2 parts by a deep lateral constriction.[3] Penial gland has very variable shape, usually a few branches or a single long branch.[3] Stimulator is large, conical and narrow.[3] Retractor of the penis is inserted laterally.[3] Vas deferens opens into penis wall facing the external body side.[3] Rectal caecum is large.[3]

This slug can travel up to 40 feet (12.2 m) in one night.[12]



Deroceras reticulatum is almost exclusively restricted to cultivated areas, usually in open habitats, in meadows, near roadsides, in ruins, gardens and parks, not inside forests.[3] External appearance is very similar to Deroceras rodnae, Deroceras praecox and the internal anatomy is very similar to Deroceras turcicum, but those three species lives in natural habitats - in woods - and they co-occur with Deroceras reticulatum very rarely.[4] It shelters under stones and ground litter (It does not burrow into the soil).[3] It is active at night.[3]

Feeding habits[edit]

This species is omnivorous, feeding mainly on fresh leaves and fruits or seedings.[3] Deroceras reticulatum is a serious pest of agricultural crops, garden cultivations[3] and horticulture.[12] After several years with continuous moist weather conditions abundance can seriously increase.[3]

Life cycle[edit]

A mating pair of Deroceras reticulatum

Life cycle covers a few months, usually two generations.[3] The main reproductive phase is in summer and autumn.[3] It lays hundreds of eggs which hatch during early summer.[12]

Maximum age is about a year.[3] Slugs die at the first frosts.[3] Usually only eggs hibernate, sometimes also juveniles.[3]

Nebria brevicollis, and numerous other kinds of carabid beetles, feed on this slug species


Various carabid beetles are predators of Deroceras reticlatum, including:


The bacterium Moraxella osloensis is a mutualistic symbiont of the slug-parasitic nematode Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita.[14] In nature, Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita vectors Moraxella osloensis into the shell cavity of the slug host Deroceras reticulatum in which the bacteria multiply and kill the slug.[14]

Deroceras reticulatum can transfer Escherichia coli on its body surface.[15]

Parasites of Deroceras reticulatum include:


This article incorporates CC-BY-2.0 text from the reference [14] and public domain text from the reference.[3]

  1. ^ 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <>. Cited 10 May 2007.
  2. ^ Müller O. F. (1774). Vermivm terrestrium et fluviatilium, seu animalium infusoriorum, helminthicorum, et testaceorum, non marinorum, succincta historia. Volumen alterum. pp. I-XXXVI [= 1-36], 1-214, [1-10]. Havniae & Lipsiae. (Heineck & Faber).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai "Species summary for Deroceras reticulatum". AnimalBase, last modified 29 August 2010, accessed 10 December 2010.
  4. ^ a b Horsák M., Juřičková L. & Picka J. (2013). Měkkýši České a Slovenské republiky. Molluscs of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Kabourek, Zlín, 264 pp. (in Czech and English).
  5. ^ a b (in Czech) Horsák M., Juřičková L., Beran L., Čejka T. & Dvořák L. (2010). "Komentovaný seznam měkkýšů zjištěných ve volné přírodě České a Slovenské republiky. [Annotated list of mollusc species recorded outdoors in the Czech and Slovak Republics]". Malacologica Bohemoslovaca, Suppl. 1: 1-37. PDF.
  6. ^ Juřičková, L.; Horsák, M.; Beran, L. (2001). "Check-list of the molluscs (Mollusca) of the Czech Republic". Acta Soc. Zool. Bohem. 65: 25–40. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Balashov I. & Gural-Sverlova N. 2012. An annotated checklist of the terrestrial molluscs of Ukraine. Journal of Conchology. 41 (1): 91-109.
  9. ^ Hausdorf B. (May 2002). "Introduced Land Snails and Slugs in Colombia" (PDF). Journal of Molluscan Studies. 68 (2): 127–131. PMID 12011238. doi:10.1093/mollus/68.2.127. 
  10. ^ a b c d Tulli M. C., Carmona D. M., López A. N., Manetti P. L., Vincini A. M. & Cendoya G. (2009). "Predation on the slug Deroceras reticulatum (Pulmonata: Stylommatophora) by Scarites anthracinus (Coleoptera: Carabidae)". Ecología Austral. 19: 55-61. PDF.
  11. ^ Crowley, T.E. & Pain, T. 1977. Mollusca not Charopidae. pp. 534-575, pl. 9-10. In: Basilewsky, P. (Ed.). La faune terrestre de l'île de Sainte-Hélène. Quatrième partie. Annales du Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Zoologie. 220:1-575.
  12. ^ a b c d "PACIFIC NORTHWEST NURSERY IPM. Snails/Slugs". Oregon State University, last modified 29 July 2005.
  13. ^ a b Oberholzer F. & Frank T. (2003). "Predation by the carabid Beetles Pterostichus melanarius and Poecilus cupreus on Slugs and Slug Eggs". Biocontrol Science and Technology 13(1): 99-110. doi:10.1080/0958315021000054421.
  14. ^ a b c An R., SreevatsanS. & Grewal P. S. (2008). "Moraxella osloensis Gene Expression in the Slug Host Deroceras reticulatum". BMC Microbiology 8: 19. doi:10.1186/1471-2180-8-19.
  15. ^ Sproston, E. L.; MacRae, M.; Ogden, I. D.; Wilson, M. J.; Strachan, N. J. C. (2006). "Slugs: Potential Novel Vectors of Escherichia coli O157". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 72 (1): 144–149. PMC 1352200Freely accessible. PMID 16391036. doi:10.1128/AEM.72.1.144-149.2006. 
  16. ^ Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment. "Brainworm". accessed 14 December 2010.
  • Spencer, H.G., Marshall, B.A. & Willan, R.C. (2009). Checklist of New Zealand living Mollusca. pp 196–219 in Gordon, D.P. (ed.) New Zealand inventory of biodiversity. Volume one. Kingdom Animalia: Radiata, Lophotrochozoa, Deuterostomia. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch

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