More widely, as well as Britain, it is known from France, the Canary Isles, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, the Black Sea coast and the mountains of Transcaucasia (Turkey to Azerbaijan and NW Iran). Its full distribution is not known with certainty (Kerney, 1999), though it is considered to have been introduced by humans into the British Isles (as well as around Moscow and St. Petersburg), with its native range being the deciduous forests of the Crimea and Caucasus (Wiktor & Norris 1982, 2009, 2010).
In Britain, most records of L. maculatus (see map) are from northern England, with a scattering elsewhere. While L. flavus is largely associated with humans (garden rubbish, damp cellars and outbuildings etc) with occasional records in woodland, L. maculatus is more strongly associated with woodlands, particularly beneath large logs, bark or in tree-holes where moist conditions are maintained (although it can be found in situations similar to those of L. flavus, as well as under stones in fields). The Hampshire specimens seemed to be associated particularly with large logs. Though found sometimes on rubbish, food put out for other animals, dead plants, or on lichens on walls and stones (Cook & Radford 1988, 2010), its strong association with large logs means that L. maculatus probably feeds on wood-decay fungi, suggesting that large fallen timber may provide both food and shelter. This diet (fungi, algae, lichens, dead plant material) is common among slugs and although many gardeners and vegetable growers dislike slugs, only a few species such as the common Field Slug Deroceras reticulatum actually feed on living higher plants (Kerney & Stubbs, 1980).
As a final note, the 'new to Hampshire' tag is a close one as it was found in Christchurch in 1884 (Kerney 1986) - though now in the county of Dorset, back then the town was in Hampshire...
|Found L. maculatus in Britain? Let your local Biological Records Centre know...|
Cameron, R.A.D., Eversham, B. & Jackson, N. (1983). A field key to the slugs of the British Isles. Field Studies 5: 807-824.
Cook, A. & Radford, D. J. (1988). The comparative ecology of four sympatric limacid slug species in Northern Ireland. Malacologia 28: 131-146.
Kerney, M. (1986). A 19th-century record of Limax maculatus in the British Isles. Conchologists' Newsletter 97: 361.
Kerney, M. (1999). Atlas of the Land and Freshwater Molluscs of Britain and Ireland. Harley, Colchester.
Kerney, M. & Stubbs, A. (1980). The Conservation of Snails, Slugs and Freshwater Mussels. NCC, Shrewsbury.
National Museums Northern Ireland (2010). MolluscIreland: Limacus maculatus (Kaleniczenko 1851) Irish Yellow Slug. [accessed 04/03/2012]
(2010). Turkish Land Snails. Verlag Natur & Wissenschaft, Solingen.
(2009). Land Snails and Slugs of Russia and Adjacent Countries. Pensoft, Sofia.
Wiktor, A. & Norris, A. (1982). The synonymy of Limax maculatus (Kaleniczenko, 1851) with notes on its European distribution. Joural of Concholology 31: 75-77.