View Full Version : A question about slugs


Faulty
06-15-04, 05:47 PM
I looked closely at a slug the other week and I noticed dozens of tiny white things crawling very quickly all over it. I'd never noticed them before but now I see them now on every slug I have to eject from my kitchen at night. Can anybody tell me what these things are?

Enigma'07
06-15-04, 05:59 PM
they're eyeballs.

Faulty
06-15-04, 06:03 PM
Eyeballs?!!

eddymrsci
06-15-04, 06:08 PM
what do those "white things" look like? (shape, colour, texture, etc.)

they could be transportation tools too, or their respiratory system.

Faulty
06-15-04, 06:11 PM
They're too tiny to see clearly - just white specks. They move quite quickly, but I can't tell if they have legs or not. I assumed that they were some kind of parasite.

Faulty
06-15-04, 06:12 PM
Or maybe baby slugs hitching a lift? Is that crazy?

Enigma'07
06-15-04, 06:24 PM
I was joking about the eyeballs.

I'm positive they wern't legs because slugs move though a pseudopod, it doesn't have legs, just one foot like locomaotion device. It can't be baby slugs ether because slugs lay eggs and the eggs don't hang off of the body.


"The body of a slug is very similar to that of a snail,the most obvious difference being the abscence of a shell.This is not entirely true however,slugs still have some form of a shell.Sometimes this is a form of plate,lying below the mantle(Limacidae), in other cases there are chalky granules(Arionidae)."

This is another possibility but I don't think so if the white things are moving. The only other thought I have is if the things are on the bottom of the slug, it would be the muscle that helps propel it. Could this be the case?

Faulty
06-15-04, 06:44 PM
I'm not sure if these things appear on the bottom, but they very much looked to me like they were not a part of the slug. They looked like separate creatures travelling on the slug like parasites. Really minute though.

Enigma'07
06-15-04, 06:47 PM
Can you find a picture of them somewhere? I looked but didn't see anything like that.

Faulty
06-15-04, 06:50 PM
I don't think so. I've had a brief look on Google and didn't find anything. I've got a digital camera, but I've tried uploading pictures to this forum before and I don't know how.

Faulty
06-15-04, 06:52 PM
I guess I'll keep looking. I'm hoping that someone on this forum happens to be an expert on slugs and related fauna.

Thor
06-15-04, 07:01 PM
I'm curious now. Faulty, e-mail me the pics and I'll host them on my webspace and link them to hear so we can all see.

I've sent you a private message telling you my e-mail address

Dreamwalker
06-15-04, 07:03 PM
Ah, forget this, was only for slugs living in water.

Can only find internal parasites as of yet.

invert_nexus
06-15-04, 07:20 PM
See if you can remove them from the slug or if they're attached. My bet's on parasites.

Anyone ever see that weird snail parasite that infects their brains? It sends out pulsing probes that attract birds that get infected and shit out the immature parasite for the snail to eat to get infected. Weird stuff. The snails actually live longer with the parasite than without.

Enigma'07
06-15-04, 08:17 PM
I thought snails/slugs had ganglia.

eddymrsci
06-15-04, 08:23 PM
I am not sure what those "white things" actually are, but I can tell ya, slugs use their outer skin as the respiratory membrane for diffusion of gases, it's their respiratory system, that's why they always look wet, becaues oxygen need moist skin to diffuse through
(I learned this in biology class :D)

Mr. Chips
06-15-04, 08:25 PM
"Close examination of slugs will often reveal numerous minute creatures running all over their bodies. These little creatures are mites (see Parasites of Man) and they tend to be more frequent on the keeled slugs than on other groups. They don't seem to be hindered by the mucus that coats the slugs and they probably feed on it. The slugs are certainly not inconvenienced by their little passengers and don't so much as cough when the mites scuttle in and out of their breathing pores."

from http://www.the-piedpiper.co.uk/th11a.htm

Enigma'07
06-15-04, 08:25 PM
I think that's part of it, but don't they also have a hole on the side of their body that they can "breathe" out of?

see here (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/invertebrates/mollusk/gastropod/Slugprintout.shtml)

eddymrsci
06-15-04, 09:52 PM
actually some animals like slugs do use their skin as a respiratory membrane
since they are small in size, their capillary is just located under the outter skin, and gas exchange can occur efficiently. oxygen enters and carbon dioxide exits according to the concentration gradient
and plus it requires a moist skin because oxygen can only diffuse through moist surface, that's why our alveoli (site of gas exchange in lungs of mammals) are very thin and very moist

Faulty
06-16-04, 03:00 AM
Well Mr Chips, that sounds exactly like what I saw. Thanks everybody for answering.
Thor, I'll see if I can take a picture tonight to email to you.

Dr Lou Natic
06-16-04, 03:14 AM
Anyone ever see that weird snail parasite that infects their brains? It sends out pulsing probes that attract birds that get infected and shit out the immature parasite for the snail to eat to get infected. Weird stuff. The snails actually live longer with the parasite than without.
Are you talking about something you saw on "the trials of life" which I have the book and dvd for?
Well anyway, what you're talking about is addressed in the trials of life.
The snails don't live longer though, what they do is stay out longer. Usually when the sun comes up they find somewhere to wait it out so they don't dehydrate, but somehow these parasites (or parasite larva) affect the snail's behaviour and make it continue wandering around out in the open during the day, increasing its chance of having its pulsating parasite filled eyes plucked off by birds.
There's a similar parasite which actually gets in the brains of ants, instead of travelling back to the nest infected ants cling onto grass with their jaws, and rabbits come along and unknowingly chomp them up, helping the parasite reach its destination- the rabbit.
Wierd stuff indeed.

Dreamwalker
06-16-04, 04:16 AM
See if you can remove them from the slug or if they're attached. My bet's on parasites.

Anyone ever see that weird snail parasite that infects their brains? It sends out pulsing probes that attract birds that get infected and shit out the immature parasite for the snail to eat to get infected. Weird stuff. The snails actually live longer with the parasite than without.


Yeah, I have seen that, it looked gross. Isnīt it painful for the snails? Canīt be nice.

Faulty
06-16-04, 06:48 AM
There's one that is carried by cats, but shows symptoms in rats. It alters the rats' behaviour, making them more bold and prone to take risks. It also dulls their reactions. Needless to say, the cats benefit. Worryingly, similar brain chemistry is shared by rats and humans, so people can become infected too. If you own a cat you might already have it.
I think I read this in New Scientist - maybe two years ago.

Dr Lou Natic
06-16-04, 07:05 AM
Another one for storks, it somehow makes frogs grow an extra leg so they are less maneuverable and easier for storks to catch.
I'd bet there are more we don't even know about yet.

invert_nexus
06-16-04, 12:50 PM
I found it. Leucochloridium paradoxum. It infests amber snails. A few links.
http://members.lycos.co.uk/Mollusks/Schnecken/parasitismus/leucochloridium.html
http://www.vu-wien.ac.at/i116/i116more_links/links.htm This one's in german. Anyone translate it?
Here's an animation: http://www.vu-wien.ac.at/i116/i116more_links/Leucochloridium/leuco.htm

I saw this on some show on parasites quite a while back. Then I did some internet research on it at the time. I am sure that I found a site that said that the snails actually lived longer with the parasite than without. I can't find that page now though.

While searcing I found another snail parasite that causes the snail to strand itself on the beach where it becomes easy prey for crustaceans who form the next vector.

I couldn't find the ant page anywhere. I have found a reference to it. Dicrocelium dendriticum. It says the ants climb the grass stalks and clamp onto the grass when the temperature goes down. If they survive the night, they resume normal behavior the next day when it warms up. I also found a fungus that infects ants and makes them climb high into the canopy and die. There their bodies fruit with the fungus and spread spores far and wide. Found this in an interesting powerpoint presentation here: http://instruct.uwo.ca/earth-sci/083f/strangerthanfiction.ppt.

The cat-rat parasite is toxoplasma gondii. Again, I could only find vague references here and there. Nothing exciting. It merely said that it made the rats fearless.

Rabies could be in this category too. It makes animals aggressive, spreading the disease.

That stork thing is freaky. Imagine that, making a frog grow an extra leg. Only a frog parasite would do that huh? Why are they so prone to growing extra legs and heads and such. Freaky little croakers. :p

Enigma'07
06-16-04, 12:55 PM
The frogs growing extra limbs and stuff has to do with the fact that they are pretty sensitive about their environment. I read anarticle once that talked about how alot of the frog in a certain area were becomeing female due to the presence of a certain chemical. I geuss with their skin it is easy to gain stuff through absorbtion.

invert_nexus
06-16-04, 12:59 PM
Yeah, that's why they're so weird. What do all these parasites tell you about evolution?

Dreamwalker
06-16-04, 01:18 PM
http://www.vu-wien.ac.at/i116/i116more_links/links.htm This one's in german. Anyone translate it?

I can translate it, but itīs very general. The texts they have there are just overviews of the life cycle of some parasites. And of course a list of their hosts. But it is not that extensive. As I said, only some shematic overviews.

Faulty
06-17-04, 06:35 AM
Thor,
I found two slugs in my kitchen when I came home last night. They both had the mite things so I grabbed the camera. The photo was so blurred it's not worth sending. This may have been because I was pretty drunk, but I think it's because the camera wouldn't focus close enough. I tried anyway.

jas jas
06-24-04, 08:05 AM
Oh My goodness!
I saw the EXACT same thing just last week, and have never seen it before! I shall endeavour to find out what they are and let you know!
I too have a digital camera and I'll try and take a pic. I gurentee I won't see ANY now...probably camera shy eh! :D

jas jas
06-24-04, 11:26 AM
I looked closely at a slug the other week and I noticed dozens of tiny white things crawling very quickly all over it. I'd never noticed them before but now I see them now on every slug I have to eject from my kitchen at night. Can anybody tell me what these things are?

Yeah I saw the exact same thing just last week! It was foul!
I have a friend who is studying creepy crawlies so I shall ask him and get back to you. I shall try and get a photo of it, but I bet they're camera shy! :D

Enigma'07
06-24-04, 01:15 PM
Where do you guys live?! All the sugs that I find are either lepard like paterning (no parasites), or translusent (no parasites). The lepard one was 3 inches long!

invert_nexus
06-27-04, 11:12 PM
The frogs growing extra limbs and stuff has to do with the fact that they are pretty sensitive about their environment.

This is also caused by a parasite. As Dr. Lou mentioned. A trematode. Ribeiroia ondatrae. There's an article about it in the Feb. 2003 Scientific American. "Explaining Frog Deformities" by Andrew R. Blaustein and Peiter T. J. Johnson.

bushmstr02
06-28-04, 07:11 PM
I'm having a problem with feral hogs digging up my yard, when I went outside to look at some of the damage they did from digging up roots. In one of the holes I seen something that looked like a snake skin, then I noticed that it was moving. I bent down to look at it and it looked like a white slug, but I noticed someting was weird about it. It was really large, pointed at the back and had the tentacles reaching out feeling the ground. When I looked closer at it, it was a mass of white things moving very fast intwineing around each other in the shape of a slug. Even the tentacles were like a mass doing the same thing as it reached out to feel the ground . It really freaked me out, i've never in my life seen anything like that. I'm not the kind of person to get freaked out by weird stuff, I raise and breed venomous snakes and have seen and had some strange animals. It took forever to find this website with some real info on,it. Does this sound like what everyone else saw??????????

Enigma'07
06-29-04, 07:45 AM
What's the website?

invert_nexus
06-29-04, 07:58 AM
Enigma,

I think he's referring to this website...

Bushmstr,

Sounds freaky. Hopefully someone on here can enlighten you. I'd like to know myself.

Enigma'07
06-29-04, 11:28 AM
Oh.........

Your slug sounds differant, with the tentacles and stuff. Can you find a picture of it?

bushmstr02
06-30-04, 05:28 AM
No that's the problem. I don't have a digital camera either and prob. not ever see one of those things again. It wasn't like really long tentacles it was just enough to find it's way, I geuss. I know feral hogs carry (parasites) worms sometimes, so I didn't know if it may have come out of the hog or what, but I can't really find anything about that either. The one reason i'm concerned about the thing is, i'm a hunter. I hunt deer and i'm scared they may keep the deer away because the hogs sometimes will kill fawns and eat them, plus they're eating the corn I put out for the deer to eat. I didn't have this problem until I did that, now they are here to stay I beleive. I tried to sneak up on one last night but he seen me and ran. I know people eat feral hogs all the time and as a hunter it does get my adrenaline pumping when I try sneaking up on him to shoot him. But what i'm worried about is, I won't kill someting unless i'm going to eat it, but if that thing came out of him, I don't know if I want to eat a feral hog. People eat them all the time but i'm not relly sure what I should do. I can't shoot him and just leave him lying there, these things can weigh over 400lbs, God that would stink, and I surely not going to bury him. I may just have to build a trap and catch him and deworm him and then kill him or give him to someone who will eat him.

Enigma'07
06-30-04, 10:10 AM
If you cook him will it matter if he has worms or not. Whatever disease it might be carring would be eliminated by the heat.

eddymrsci
06-30-04, 11:52 AM
not exactly, some viruses and bacteria can withstand a substantial level of temperature, but not many of these microbes can survive in your stomach, where it is filled with pH 1~2 gastric juices

bushmstr02
06-30-04, 04:07 PM
All the info I found on them says if you cook it right, everything is killed(if it has anything).

eddymrsci
06-30-04, 04:45 PM
I am pretty sure certain microbes can withstand a particular level of heat, this resistance may be developed through evolution

Enigma'07
06-30-04, 09:05 PM
What about stomach acid. That can't also take that, can they?

eddymrsci
06-30-04, 09:37 PM
the gastric juice in the stomach plays a big part in eliminating the microbes - especially bacteria and viruses - in the incoming food, however, it does not kill off everything, there are always organisms that are resistant to the acid

Nonetheless, there are other organs in the human body that detoxify harmful things in food, such as the liver.