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The red triangle slug, scientific name Triboniophorus graeffei, is a species of air-breathing land slug, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Athoracophoridae, the leaf-veined slugs.

This large (up to 14 cm), often colorful and striking-looking species is found in eastern Australia. It is Australia's largest native land slug. It is a common part of the fauna.

Triboniophorus graeffei is the type species of the genus Triboniophorus.

Distribution

This slug species occurs on the east coast of Australia, from New South Walesmarker to Queenslandmarker.

Solem (1959) mentioned a possible introduction of this species to the New Hebridesmarker, but no material was available from him to confirm it.

Habitat

Red triangle slugs are found in damp situations in various habitats, including city gardens, forests, woodland and heath.

Life habits

These slugs graze on algae which grows on the surface of the smooth bark of some eucalyptus trees and on rocks. Sometimes the slugs enter houses and have been known to graze on the mold that grows on bathroom walls.

Description

These slugs have two, not four, tentacles, and like other leaf-vein slugs they have an indented pattern on their dorsum which resembles that of a leaf.

They are very variable in color. Individual slugs can be white, or off-white, yellow, dark or light grey, beige, pink, red, or olive green. All the color forms have a red (or orange, or magenta, or maroon) triangle on the mantle surrounding the pneumostome, and a red line at the edge of the foot. The texture of the dorsum of the slug can be smooth or very rough.

Research is being carried out to try to determine if some of the different forms might actually represent different species or subspecies.

Gallery

Various shots of Triboniophorus graeffei on the bark of Sydney Blue Gums, near Dungogmarker, Australia, showing color variation, varying degrees of contraction and body shape.Image:Triboniophorus graeffei - Dungog7.jpg|Close-up of a pale pink individual with the pneumostome open and a narrow body, tentacles fully extendedImage:Triboniophorus graeffei - Dungog1.jpg|An off-white individual with a very pale "red triangle"Image:Triboniophorus graeffei - Dungog2.jpg|A beige individual with a very wide body and a pale orange "triangle" and foot edge. Tentacles partially retractedImage:Triboniophorus graeffei - Dungog4.jpg|Two individuals, one fully contracted and with pneumostome closedImage:Triboniophorus graeffei - Dungog5.jpg|Same two individuals from the side showing the body shape in profileImage:Triboniophorus graeffei - Dungog6.jpg|Same two individuals, the previously contracted one has retreated to a less exposed position among old flakes of bark

References

  1. Red Triangle Slug Fact File. Australian Museum, 2009, accessed 22 February 2009.
  2. Solem A. 1959. Systematics of the land and fresh-water mollusca of the New Hebrides. Fieldiana Zoology, volume 43, number 1, Chicago Natural History Museum, page 45-46
  3. (June) 2004. Red Triangle Slug Diversity. An Australian Museum Website, Australian Museum, accessed 22 February 2009.
  4. Stephanie Pain (July) 2000. Hate housework? Can't find a reliable cleaner? Try a slug. New Scientist Magazine, Melissa Kaplan's Herp Care Collection, Last updated April 19, 2007. Accessed 22 February 2009.


Further reading

  • Pfeiffer W. 1898. Anatomische und histologische Bemerkungen ├╝ber Triboniophorus Graeffei Humbert. Sitzber. Ges. natf. Freunde, Berlin.


External links

Photographs on the life history etc: Photographs of the various different color forms:


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