Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Slug Named Zoidberg

Yesterday after I work I popped over the the mountain bike path side of Frances Slocum to see what I could find. Looking over at a log I found this nice, big Winding Mantleslug (Philomycus flexuolaris) just slugging on by. I grabbed him and he absolutely filled my hand with orange mucus. At first I thought maybe that meant it was a Toga Mantleslug (Philomycus togatus) as I didn't (and still don't) know the mucus color of P. flexuolaris. Ultimately, however, I believe this to be P. flexuolaris based on it's markings. Interestingly, though, I was thrown by the orange because the foot fringe looked pinkish orange when it was irritated and filling my hand with orange mucus, but after it rested the foot fringe went back to a paler color.

Today I brought him home a treat-- a bunch of fungus I collected. After all, as I learned yesterday, Philomycus (and probably the family, Philomycidae) translates to "friend of fungus." This is the name given by either Sterki or Rafinesque (or someone else, can't remember) when they named the genera/family because they eat fungus. I put him down on my photo table, presented him the fungus, and he went right to work.

Immediately upon inspecting him with my hasting triplet I named him Zoidberg. Now, I don't know if there is something inherently wrong with naming something you are going to dissect or preserve (basically murder), but I did it anyway. Look at that mouth, it has those vertical bars like the Futurama character. I pulled away the fungus and could see his full mouth. It looked like a suckerfish, but more sculpture to it.

I should also note that I was going to try to compare him to the first P. flexuolaris I had gotten from Moon Lake Park, but when I pulled out that jar I learned that it had escaped. Apparently I made the air hole way too big and it slid out. So now I must have a big 66mm mantleslug winding around my house. Oh well. Lesson learned: smaller holes.

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