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A medium-large roundback slug with conspicuous dorsal tubercles and a characteristic green tint to the sole, which lives mainly on wild ground in the west and in more disturbed habitats elsewhere.
Described from near Schull in West Cork by Collinge (1893) and now widespread in the British Isles but probably introduced from Iberia before the historical period. Native in north-west Iberia (Castillejo, 1998).
In Ireland this species was very localised until the late 1980s when an expansion in both numbers and range appears to have commenced. First noticed in gardens in 1995 since when the increase in numbers has been prodigious, populations in some areas assuming plague proportions. This change in behaviour is striking and difficult to account if it were a native species. This leads naturally to speculation that Arion flagellus has more southerly origins. Quinteiro et al. (2005) sampled the genetic make-up of flagellus from British and Spanish populations and concluded that the British material did not fit the characteristics expected of a natural population and so was probably derived from the Iberian population.
Historically confused with other large roundback slugs until definitively separated by Davies (1987).
|Anderson, R., (2016). Arion (Arion) flagellus Collinge 1893. [In] MolluscIreland. |
http://www.habitas.org.uk/molluscireland/species.asp?ID=22 Accessed on 2017-03-23.