Orange-banded Arion

Arion fasciatus

''Arion fasciatus'', also known by its common name the Orange-banded Arion, is a species of air-breathing, completely shell-less, land slug, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Arionidae, the round-back slugs, first described by Sven Nilsson in 1823.
Orange-banded slug - Arion fasciatus Spotted in a small rain-water stream on Vitosha mountain. Invasive species, first recorded in Bulgaria in 1999. I faced serious problems identifying the mollusks I have photographed, but recently a Bulgarian malacologist I. Dedov joined one of my FB groups and helped to identify them.  Air-breathing land slugs,Animal,Animalia,Arion fasciatus,Arionidae,Arionoidea,Bistrishko Branishte Nature Reserve,Bulgaria,Europe,Gastropoda,Geotagged,Mollusca,Nature,Orange-banded slug,Vitosha Mountain Nature Park,Wildlife,Winter

Appearance

''Arion fasciatus'' is very similar to most slugs in almost all ways. They are hermaphroditic with a head, mantle, and foot. They have two sets of retractable tentacles on their heads. The upper pair have light sensing organs, and the lower two are used to smell. These slugs have a mantle that covers much of the top of the first third of the body, with its pneumostome located on the back right portion of the mantle.

The foot has three sections horizontally across, and in the middle, on the head, is where the mouth and radula is. The orange banded arion has a darkened stripe that extends along the entire body and mantle length on both sides of the body, and is gray, off-white, or tan, with a very light colored foot.

''Arion fasciatus'' is about six centimeters in length when moving, secreting a clear mucus behind it. However, when disturbed, the mucus becomes denser and stickier. A study found that the thicker mucus can prevent predation by Carabid beetles, but that this mucus becomes exhausted after three minutes of stimulation. It then takes up to a day to get mucus production up to pre-attack levels, leaving the slug susceptible to other predators.
Orange-banded slug - Arion fasciatus Spotted in a small rain-water stream on Vitosha mountain. Invasive species, first recorded in Bulgaria in 1999. I faced serious problems identifying the mollusks I have photographed, but recently a Bulgarian malacologist I. Dedov joined one of my FB groups and helped to identify them.  Air-breathing land slugs,Animal,Animalia,Arion fasciatus,Arionidae,Arionoidea,Bistrishko Branishte Nature Reserve,Bulgaria,Europe,Gastropoda,Geotagged,Mollusca,Nature,Orange-banded slug,Vitosha Mountain Nature Park,Wildlife,Winter

Distribution

''Arion fasciatus'' are originally from Northern Europe, but spread to other cool, wet climates, including the British Isles, Canada and the Northern United States. They originally got across the Atlantic Ocean during the colonial era. These slugs are generally found in ecotonal habitats.

Food

A study was done on the eating habits of ''Arion fasciatus'', which found that it does not find fresh leaves as palatable, likely because they generally feed under the leaf litter layer. This is not to say that the orange-banded arion does not eat fresh vegetable matter.

This study also found that the diet of the orange-banded arion is variable throughout the year. For example, an increase in animal material during May and June. The hypothesis is that during the colder months slugs don't move much under the leaf litter, and take in a lot of leaves where the chlorophyll as already broken down, and during the warmer months, they take advantage of the earthworms and small arthropods who have high mortality rates.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionMollusca
ClassGastropoda
OrderStylommatophora
FamilyArionidae
GenusArion
SpeciesA. fasciatus
Photographed in
Bulgaria