Deroceras laeve - (Muller, 1774)
Meadow Slug
Other English Common Names: Marsh Slug
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Deroceras laeve (Muller, 1774) (TSN 77305)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.107018
Element Code: IMGAS87040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Mollusks - Terrestrial Snails
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mollusca Gastropoda Stylommatophora Limacidae Deroceras
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Turgeon, D.D., J.F. Quinn, Jr., A.E. Bogan, E.V. Coan, F.G. Hochberg, W.G. Lyons, P.M. Mikkelsen, R.J. Neves, C.F.E. Roper, G. Rosenberg, B. Roth, A. Scheltema, F.G. Thompson, M. Vecchione, and J.D. Williams. 1998. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: Mollusks. 2nd Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 26, Bethesda, Maryland: 526 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B98TUR01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Deroceras laeve
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Feb2017
Global Status Last Changed: 08Oct2002
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: This species has a cosmopolitan global distribution and has been introduced widely worldwide.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (08Oct2002)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (18Feb2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNR), Alaska (SNA), Arizona (SNR), Arkansas (SNR), California (SNR), Colorado (SNA), Delaware (SNR), District of Columbia (SNR), Florida (SNR), Georgia (SNR), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (S3), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (SNR), Kansas (SNR), Kentucky (S3S4), Louisiana (SNR), Maine (SNR), Maryland (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Mississippi (SNR), Missouri (SNR), Montana (S4), Nebraska (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), New York (SNR), North Carolina (S4S5), North Dakota (SX), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (SNR), Oregon (SNR), Pennsylvania (S3), South Dakota (SNR), Texas (SNR), Utah (S3S4), Vermont (SNR), Virginia (S3), Washington (S4S5), West Virginia (S4), Wisconsin (S4S5), Wyoming (SNR)
Canada Alberta (S4), British Columbia (S5), Labrador (S5), Manitoba (S4), New Brunswick (S5), Newfoundland Island (S5), Northwest Territories (S3S4), Nova Scotia (SU), Nunavut (S5), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (SU), Quebec (SNR), Saskatchewan (S3S4), Yukon Territory (S4)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This species is Holarctic.

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species was first recorded in Hawaii in 1897 (Cowie, 1997) but has probably become established on all main Hawaiian Islands, inclduing Lanai, Kauai, Oahu, and Maui. Recently it was found in a survey of the Hakalau region, dry gulch near University of Hawaii Hakalau Forest Biological Field Station, Hakalua Forest National Wildlife Refuge, on the windward slopes of Mauna Kea, elevation 6335-6410 feet, Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands (Howarth et al., 2003). Roth and Lindberg (1981) documented it on Attu (Aleutian Islands), Alaska. In California it is known from 14 counties: Alameda, Lake, Los Angeles (including Santa Catalina Island), Marin, Nevada, Placer, Shasta, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara (including Santa Cruz Island), Santa Cruz (Roth and Sadeghian, 2006), and Humboldt (McDonnell et al., 2009). It had been documented historically in Colorado (Cockerell, 1927) as Agriolimax campestris. Multiple species of Deroceras spp. were recorded in eastern Maine (11 of 101 sites) from litter samples in a variety of habitats (Nekola, 2008). In New York, Hotopp and Pearce (2007) report it from four counties that are widespread, though it is likely poorly represented. It has been documented recently in southeastern Wisconsin (Jass, 2006). This species is also known from Pleistocene deposits in the Black Hills of Fall River/Custer Cos., South Dakota (Jass et al., 2002). Freeman and Perkins (1992) documented it in Nebraska along the entire Platte River valley. Branson (1966) includes a single site on the Spring River in Missouri. Baxter (1987) cites occurrences in Alaska across much of the state. In Alberta, it is distributed south west of Calgary, north to Lake Louise and Jasper, east to Edmonton and north to Slave Lake (Lepitzki, 2001). It was recently documented in 2 of 82 soil samples and 6 area spot searches of Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, in 2002 (Anderson, 2005). Pearce (1994) reported it from Mackinac Island, Michigan. Forsyth (2005) documented it in the Upper Fraser Basin of central British Columbia along the shorelines of waterways and permanently wet forested sites; as well as in the Peace-River- northern Rockies region in a small pond west of Ed Bird Lake in the Finlay River valley and in spruce and mixedwood forests such as those on the Liard Plain (Forsyth, 2005). Most recently, it was discovered in the Ktunaxa Traditional Territory in southeastern British Columbia (which extends from near Canada - U.S. border north to about 50 km north of Cranbrook) (Ovaska and Sopuck, 2009).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) This species is Holarctic.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AKexotic, AL, AR, AZ, CA, COexotic, DC, DE, FL, GA, HIexotic, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MIexotic, MO, MS, MT, NC, NDextirpated, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Barrens, Cliff, Cropland/hedgerow, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Forest Edge, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Urban/edificarian, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: From Dourson (2013): A Holarctic species often found under cardboard and rubbish along roadsides and in vacant lots, also found in meadows and natural glades.
Economic Attributes
Economic Comments: It has become a garden pest (Dourson 2013).
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Terrestrial Snails

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on some evidence of historical or current presence of single or multiple specimens, including live specimens or recently dead shells (i.e., soft tissue still attached without signs of external weathering or staining), at a given location with potentially recurring existence. Weathered shells constitute a historic occurrence. Evidence is derived from reliable published observation or collection data; unpublished, though documented (i.e. government or agency reports, web sites, etc.) observation or collection data; or museum specimen information.
Separation Barriers: Barriers include barriers to dispersal such as the presence of permanent water bodies greater than 30 m in width, permanently frozen areas (e.g. mountaintop glaciers) which generally lack land snails (Frest and Johannes, 1995), or dry, xeric areas with less than six inches precipitation annually, as moisture is required for respiration and often hatching of eggs. For the various slugs and slug-like species (families Arionidae, Philomycidae, Limacidae, Milacidae, Testacellidae, Veronicellidae), absence of suitable moisture, except for the most ubiquitous of species such as Deroceras reticulatum (Müller, 1774), can serve as a barrier to movement (Frest and Johannes, 1995). Members of these groups tend to have greater difficulty crossing areas of little moisture than other pulmonates. For tree snails (family Bulimulidae [= Orthalicidae]), lack of appropriate arboreal habitat (e.g. distance of greater than 500 m) also serves as a separation barrier.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 1 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: None
Separation Justification: Burch and Pearce (1990) suggest refuges may be the most important factor limiting terrestrial snail abundance, although the greatest richness of species among carbonate cliff habitats (one of the most diverse in North America) is associated with calcareous, as opposed to acidic, substrates (Nekola, 1999; Nekola and Smith, 1999). The panmictic unit (a local population in which matings are random) is small relative to those of other animal groups because terrestrial snails tend to be more sedentary. Baker (1958) claimed, "long-distance dispersal of terrestrial gastropods is undoubtedly passive" although short distance dispersal is active involving slow, short distance migration under favorable conditions. Long-distance passive migration is not considered when assigning separation distances, as otherwise separation distances for many animals and plants would be made impracticably large. Passive migration of snails on terrestrial mammals, birds, or insects may occur over longer distances may occur across barriers. Passive migration also may occur by wind or by rafting on floating objects (Vagvolgyi, 1975). A third form of passive migration may occur through human activity such as transport as food, with consumed goods, or for biological control of other organisms.

Terrestrial gastropods do not move much usually only to find food or reproduce. Olfaction is the primary sensory behavior utilized to find and move toward a food item (on the scale of cm to m) although Atkinson (2003) found that Anguispira alternata was capable of switching foraging behavior when snails encountered a physical barrier to movement. Fisher et al (1980) reported maximum movement rate of Rumina decollata (Linnaeus, 1758), an introduced pest species in California spreading relatively rapidly (for a snail), to be 20 m in three months (= 6.67 m/month) in an irrigated orchard. Tupen and Roth (2001) reported the movement rate for the same species in an un-irrigated native scrub on San Nicolas Island to be 0.4 km in 12 years (= 33.33 m/month). South (1965) found in dispersal studies of the slug, Deroceras reticulatum, that slugs traveled a mean distance of 1.13 m in seven days indicating this species disperses little throughout its life. Giokas and Mylonas (2004) found mean dispersal and minimal movement distances were very small (16.2 and 5.4 m, respectively) for Albinaria coerulea, with few individuals dispersing longer distances. Even the most extreme dispersal distances, such as 500 m for the giant African land snail Achatina fulica (Tomiyama and Nakane, 1993), do not approach the scale of km. Viable land snail populations generally occupy small areas. Frest and Johannes (1995) report the largest Oreohelix colony they observed was one mile (1.67 km) long and 0.25 miles (0.41 km) wide while the smallest was six feet (183 cm) long and two feet (61 cm) wide.

As a whole, pulmonates (previously Subclass Pulmonata) are better dispersers than prosobranchs (previously Subclass Prosobranchia) possibly due to their hermaphroditic reproduction increasing the chance of new colonization (Pilsbry, 1948). When compared with prosobranch families, pulmonates generally reproduce at smaller sizes and sooner, produce greater numbers of eggs/young, have larger clutch sizes, greater growth rates, and shorter life cycles (Brown, 1991). Further, prosobranchs' requirement of constant moisture for oxygen exchange limits their ability to colonize drier habitats. Suitable habitat for pulmonate groups tends to be more varied and less restrictive than for prosobranch groups. All of these factors contribute to pulmonates greater dispersal capability over prosobranchs, as evidenced by the wider and more varied distribution of pulmonates over prosobranchs. Despite this, separation distance for both groups is set at the minimum one km as most movements are well within this suggested minimum separation distance.

Date: 26May2004
Author: Cordeiro, J.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 18May2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J. (2007)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 18May2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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