Have You Seen A Shelled Slug Called Testacella!

Stimulated by a double-page spread of excellent slug drawings and a comment on page 32 of the April issue of BBC Wildlife magazine, we issued the following Press release in the hope of bringing Testacella to the surface.

"We hardly need to be told that the wet winter has saturated soils! Waterlogged gardens and fields are not ready for spring sowing and most vegetable plots are soggy morasses. One unusual outcome of all the water is that slugs living in the soil have been forced out as the air spaces where they live have filled with water. In some parts of southern England this has brought up the unusual and rare soil-living shelled slugs. So the question is: have they appeared in Worcestershire?"

Harry Green of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust said:

The shelled slugs (scientifically called Testacella) are very odd animals. Up to two inches long and rather broad in the beam they are yellowish-white and on their tail end is perched a small ear-shaped shell up to half an inch long. They burrow into soil and are predatory, feeding on earthworms and other slugs. They like rich well-manured soils and usually turn up in gardens. We had one record about three years ago but none since. We want to know if these rarities are still sliding around the county!

So, if you have seen such slugs this winter (or in past years) or find them in your garden, please give the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust a ring on 01905 754919 or write to us at Lower Smite Farm, Hindlip, Worcester, WR3 8SZ.

For further information contact Harry Green on 01387 710377 or 07778 198476

Did we receive any reports? Only one. Roger Daniel phoned to say he had found them near Boughton Avenue, St Johns, Worcester 5-6 years ago. I have photographs of several sent to BBC Hereford & Worcester several years ago but cannot remember their origin - we think they were from Gloucestershire. We should be very please to hear of any sightings.


There are three species of Testacella: T. maugei, T. haliotidea and T. scutulum. They are rather similar - maugei has a grey body, the others are yellower. The small ear-shaped shell on the hind end is brownish.


BBC Wildlife Magazine April 2001, pages 12, 13 &32. Colour drawings of many species.
CAMERON, RAD, JACKSON, N & EVERSHAM, B. A field key to the slugs of the British Isles. Field Studies Council.
KERNEY, M 1999. Atlas of the land and freshwater moluscs of Britain & Ireland. Harley Books
KERNEY MP & CAMERON RAD 1979 and subsequent reprints. Collins Guide to Land Snails of Britain and Western Europe. Harper Collins.
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