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Slug Anatomy 101

diagram of a slug
Labels and design: Heather Stanley, OAN
Photo: Rosetta

Want to know your way around a slug? Let's start at the top.

The mantle is a fleshy lobe that secretes the shell in snails. It is vestigial in most slugs but useful for identification. The keel (carina) is a backbone-like ridge that runs the length of the back in some slug species. That blowhole on the side is called the pneumostome and leads to the slug's lung. Slugs can swing their two retractable, light-sensitive optical tentacles independently to gaze at their surroundings. The optical tentacles are also used for smell. The two lower sensory tentacles serve for feeling and tasting. The mouth and teeth are on the underside of the head. The anus is under the right side of the mantle as is the genital opening. Running the length of the dorsal side of the slug is the foot whose bottom is named appropriately, the sole. The foot sometimes wears a skirt.

Website editor:
Robin Rosetta
Page last modified 3/11/04
 

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