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UK Nature  > Slugs  > Limax maximus

Scientific Name:   Limax maximus
Common Name:   Leopard Slug

Limax maximus, or the Leopard Slug as it is more commonly known, is usually strikingly marked but quite variable. This is one of the largest British slugs, reaching up to 150 mm. Spots on the back are usually oriented in three longitudinal bands. Some specimens, mainly found in woodland, lack most spots and are pale brown. The sole is ash coloured and the mucus is colourless and not very sticky.

In general, leopard slugs are active at night, though they may also be seen in daytime during wet, warm and overcast weather. Usually they sleep under stones, rubble, deadwood, such as tree trunks and shelves, as well as in dark wall crevices. They emerge to feed, and then can be found on mushrooms, withered plants and on algae growing on trees and stones. Limax maximus is a partial carnivore that also feeds on carrion, but also on other slugs and their eggs. Leopard slugs have even been observed to lead to a decrease of harmful slug species. So even if Limax maximus sometimes feeds on garden plants, it should not be called a garden pest, which it can only be in great numbers of overpopulation.
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