Snails and Slugs
New resource - OSU Slug Portal
This section of the website is devoted to information for the identification and management of snails and slugs in Pacific Northwest nurseries. The Pacific Northwest is home to a variety of slugs and snails, native and exotic. The native species play a critical ecological role in the natural environment. Exotic species, though, tend to ravage our crops and landscapes in a sometimes irritating and often expensive manner. Knowing more about these pest species can aid in prevention and effective management. This is a growing area of the website and will continue to be updated.
If you have a general interest in slugs, then you might try the slugs link to find more about the low life slithering under foot. The snails link gives similar general information on the shelled variety of animals crawling around. Links for specific species are on the left navigation bar. One of my favorite web resources on mollusks, a taxon which includes slugs and snails, is the Living World of Mollusks. The slug taxonomy section is still in progress but it might help visitors understand a little about the relationships of the individual species.
If you wish to identify a slug or snail, the keys in the links section are recommended. One of the best guides: Terrestrial Mollusk Tool ID tool. You may want to visit the slug anatomy link first. For those folks located in the Pacific Northwest, two of the most useful keys are the Identification Guide to Land Snails and Slugs of Western Washington (pictorial key- very easy) and Terrestrial Gastropods of the Columbia Basin, British Columbia. The BLM keys are a great resource on native aquatic and terrestrial mollusks. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has an Freshwater Mollusks guide. A wonderful new identification guide that is very applicable for our cool climate is the Slugs of Britain and Ireland. The new Slugs: A Guide to Invasive and Native Fauna in California is a great resource and should be applicable across the United States as well as California.
There are a couple of nice links for information on damage and control of slugs. Slug Damage and Control of Slugs in Horticultural Crops is a great brochure with lots of color photos and good information on management. Some of the options listed are not available in the US but most tactics will be relevant. Don't skip the UC Pest Management Guidelines, it is always a helpful resource for pest management information.
For those interested in snail and slug research and Extension, I've posted the meeting summary from the 2010 Western Region Integrated Pest Management Conference (WIPMC) on Snails and Slugs in Ornamental Production. There is also a Facebook page on Snail and Slug Research and Extension.
Hopefully you will enjoy learning a little more about these creatures around us.
Speeding slugs? You betcha. Check the link to see a great short film by Kurtis Hough called Mossgrove. It was filmed here in Oregon.
Check out my article in the Digger Magazine, Slime and Punishment
Special Treat - OPB Field Guide Takes on Slugs! Check the link for their video of slugs in Oregon.
Before applying any of the information found on this site, please read our
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