Sunday, April 01, 2007

Might As Well Jump

Phantom Midge1 has given me a suggestion for this week’s post. The name was way out there—far enough that I knew it had to be written about. Meet the Dromedary Jumping-Slug (Hemphillia dromedarius).

Image by Kristina Ovaska from Parks Canada
Image by Kristina Ovaska from Parks Canada

Yes, you read right. Dromedary. Jumping. Slug2. It gets its name from the fact that a) it has a single hump, like camel, b) to avoid predators, it wriggles and leaps, and c) it’s a slug. It hails from British Columbia, Canada (and a small bit of Washington), and is the first EUT from the Canadian list, on which it is listed as threatened. The Dromedary Jumping-Slug is not the only jumping-slug in existence, in fact, the Warty one (Hemphillia glandulosa) is listed as “of special concern” on the Canadian list.

There is not a lot of information about this slug. It only got added to the list in ’03. In fact, none of the sites I’ve found even mention what it eats, though I’m guessing leaves and the like. The Jumping-Slug’s predators (that which it jumps away from) include: carnivorous beetles, other gastropods, rodents, and birds. The Dromedary Jumping-Slug, like most slugs, is hermaphroditic, which leads to some pretty interesting mating rituals3.

Habitat fragmentation and loss is the major threat to our leaping friends. They can’t move very far, so any fragmentation is a problem. Fragmentation also makes it easier for predators to reach them. Conservation is just starting out, but they’re certainly working on it.

Edit: Yes, it's almost a year after I published this, but I was just given a link to video that shows exactly how these slugs "jump".

1Since she doesn’t have a blog, I’ll link to her sister, which seems only fair, since she linked to me.
2Yes, I know it’s silly, but I couldn’t help but think of a Dromedary-Jumping slug—that is, a slug that specifically leaps over one-humped camels.

3Here’s a video of (leopard) slug sex. I promise, it’s cool. And not nasty.


Anonymous said...

I would be curious to know if the "jumping" is more like a flailing about, as I just can't picture a slimy slug suddenly taking flight. Or maybe it's mastered some secret ninja slug moves I haven't heard about (snatch the slug from my hand, Grasshopper) that would be good video!Thanks for linking to my sister's site, as I don't have the time (OK, I don't have the motivation really)to create one myself. And I just got my hip Save the Wartyback T-shirt and I feel very cool! Oh, one tiny correction: it's Mrs. Phantom Midge (not a "he")

Garfman said...

The information seemed to suggest a flailing about. Glad you like the shirt. On the last point: I was worried about that. It is duly noted and corrected.

Anonymous said...

Oh! t-shirts!!
I will have to get an Ockhams Razor shirt ASAP.

And thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...