Tropical leatherleaf

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Tropical leatherleaf
Laevicaulis alte
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Heterobranchia

clade Euthyneura
clade Panpulmonata
clade Eupulmonata
clade Systellommatophora

Superfamily: Veronicelloidea
Family: Veronicellidae
Genus: Laevicaulis
Species: L. alte
Binomial name
Laevicaulis alte
(Férussac, 1822)

Vaginula alte Férussac, 1821
Vaginulus alte Férussac, 1821

The tropical leatherleaf, scientific name Laevicaulis alte, is a species of tropical land slug, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Veronicellidae, the leatherleaf slugs.


Laevicaulis alte is a round, dark-coloured slug with no shell, 7 or 8 cm long. Its skin is slightly tuberculated. The central keel is beige in colour.

This slug has a unique, very narrow foot; juvenile specimens have a foot 1 mm wide and adult specimens have a foot that is only 4 or 5 mm wide.

The tentacles are small, 2 or 3 mm long, and they are only rarely extended beyond the edge of the mantle.

View of contracted individual, the anterior end is to the right


This slug is an intermediate host for Angiostrongylus cantonensis, the rat lungworm, a round worm, the most common cause of eosinophilic meningoencephalitis.[1]


This slug is eaten by the frog Rana tigrina.[2]


This species is probably indigenous to Africa (western Africa and eastern Africa).

It has been introduced and become an invasive species[4] in the following areas:

This species is already established in the USA, and is considered to represent a potentially serious threat as a pest, an invasive species which could negatively affect agriculture, natural ecosystems, human health or commerce. Therefore it has been suggested that this species be given top national quarantine significance in the USA.[7]


This species lives in dry areas, mostly at lower altitudes.[citation needed]

Ventral view of foot of juvenile specimen

Feeding habits[edit]

What this slug eats in the wild is not known. In captivity this slug will eat:

In captivity it will not eat:

Life cycle[edit]

This slug hatches from eggs. This species has several adaptations for living in dry conditions: a rounded shape with as small as possible surface area, and a narrow foot to reduce evaporation.

Juvenile specimens search for food nearly always at night, and stay buried in the soil during the day. Larger specimens are active during the day sometimes. This slug can grow up from 0.5 cm to approximately 4 cm in length in 7 months.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Rowson B., Warren B. H. & Ngereza C. F. (2010). "Terrestrial molluscs of Pemba Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania, and its status as an "oceanic" island". ZooKeys 70: 1-39. doi:10.3897/zookeys.70.762.
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ Wu S.-P., Hwang C.-C., Huang H.-M., Chang H.-W., Lin Y.-S. & Lee P.-F. (2007). "Land Molluscan Fauna of the Dongsha Island with Twenty New Recorded Species". Taiwania 52(2): 145-151. PDF.
  6. ^ [4]
  7. ^ Cowie R. H., Dillon R. T., Robinson D. G. & Smith J. W. (2009). "Alien non-marine snails and slugs of priority quarantine importance in the United States: A preliminary risk assessment". American Malacological Bulletin 27: 113-132. PDF.

External links[edit]