MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Arion (Kobeltia) distinctus J. Mabille 1868 Common garden slug
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Arion (Kobeltia) distinctus
© Dr Roy Anderson
Arion (Kobeltia) distinctus
© Dr Roy Anderson
Arion (Kobeltia) distinctus
© Dr Roy Anderson

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Arion (Kobeltia) distinctus
© Dr Roy Anderson

One of the 'garden' slugs characterised collectively by their depressed, relatively elongate shape, inability to contract into a bell shape, and orange sole. This is the commonest species and is distinguished by the colour of its sides below the lateral bands, which are mid to dark grey, by its dark grey tentacles and, the sometimes strongly developed, aggregation of orange colour on the back.

Key characteristics

  • A garden slug with depressed elongate shape and inability to contract into a bell shape
  • Colour generally dark, with grey sides and back, and bright orange sole
  • Tentacles dark grey to blue-grey with no hint of warmer shades (compare Arion hortensis)
  • Lateral bands always broad and dark, sometimes covering most of the sides
  • Tuberculation on the back muted, tubercles being flat and inconspicuous


30-38 mm.

World Distribution

Middle latitudes of Europe to southern Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands but commoner in the south of this range. Distribution type: European Southern-temperate (83).

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

Widespread and abundant at lower elevations.


  • Ubiquitous in woodland soils across Ireland
  • A pest or potential pest on arable land and in gardens
  • Rarely found on peaty soils but can occur in exposed areas
  • A spring breeder with adults mainly present in winter and spring


Only recently separated from similar species within a complex which includes the very similar Arion hortensis. Davies (1977, 1979) should be consulted for detailed discussion of the differences between A. hortensis and A. distinctus.

Red List status

  • Least concern (lc).

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Arion distinctus

 Anderson, R., (2016). Arion (Kobeltia) distinctus J. Mabille 1868. [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-03-02.