Mollusc vs. Annelid

We had some rain overnight, and this morning the sidewalk on my way to work was swarming with earthworms and slugs. The slugs here in Minnesota are tiny little pathetic things, unlike the lovely behemoths I grew up with in Washington state, but they’re still cool to see. Anyway, Afarensis led me to this short photoessay about what happens when a hungry slug meets a worm. I am not surprised at all: I’ve seen a few cannibalistic slug feeding frenzies in my time. They’re like the slo-mo sharks of the damp undergrowth.


  1. Jake says

    I’m reminded of a story I once read in an old “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” collection (I discovered these paperbacks at the library of my middle school, read the 4 or 5 they had in the collection in a couple of weeks, then had nightmares). A man–he might even have been a descriptive biologist–finds himself on some previously undiscovered island with a population of giant slugs (i.e. 12-15 feet long). He then learns, to his regret, how easily these slugs will consume animal flesh.

  2. Jake says

    Hmmmm. My previous comment reminded me of a comic I read at about the same time that featured flesh-eating butterflies with paralytic venom.

    No wonder I turned out to be a social scientist instead.

  3. says

    The story was about these giant, peach-colored snails, not slugs, that lived on a deserted island in the Pacific, and how this one ambitious biologist was determined to study them, after he had named them… “Blank claveringi
    Unfortunately, he didn’t anticipate them being carnivorous, nor intelligent enough to gnaw through the rope that moored his boat.

  4. says

    I always thought the magnificent banana slug (ariolimax columbianus) was an entriguing beast. Then I bought a house in what I later found to be their ideal environment. Nothing like trying to relax in front of the TV as an 8 inch yellow slug slimes it’s way across the living room window periodically stopping to take a crap. Turns out yellow is merely the most popular color; they come in green and orange too and some sport spots.

    I used to live farther south where, after a good rain, the nearby walking path would be covered with snails. Walking there one night my wife and I learned why a cartoon from years ago was funny:

    Little girl to her father: “Daddy, do you know what sound snails make?”

    Father: “No, what sound do they make?”

    Little girl with a big smile: “Crunch, crunch.”

  5. The Brummell says

    The experiment described used dead, reconstituted (with TSP) worms.

    So the slugs didn’t seem so much like sharks as vultures. Small, non-flying, very slow vultures.

  6. Doozer says

    Worms out on the sidewalk, eh? 20 years ago we were all singing…

    There comes a time
    When the rain begins to fall
    And the worms come out of the ground.
    There are people walking
    Oh, it’s time to watch your step
    Or your feet will make a squishy sound.

    We are the worms
    Out on the sidewalk.
    We are the ones who make a squishy mess
    So watch where you walk.
    It’s a chance we’re taking
    Leaving our homes underground
    Though it’s true we’ll get a better tan,
    Just you and me.

    When we’re laying ’round
    Keep your eye out on the street.
    If you don’t look out,
    You’ll have worms under your feet.
    We realize
    Oh, that the sun is gonna come
    And we’ll shrivel up like beef jerky from the heat.

    Oh, come on now, let me hear ya!.

    We are the worms
    Out on the pavement.
    And when we hear a squish, we look around
    To see where cousin Dave went.
    It’s a stance we’re taking
    ‘Cause worms are people too
    And we sure don’t want a better look
    At your big shoe.

    OK, maybe just a few of us…

  7. craig says

    “Mollusc vs. Annelid”

    Quick – someone write up a treatment and lets send it to Jerry Bruckheimer!