Vulgar Slug - Arion vulgaris sensu stricta

Alternative names
Spanish Slug

There are four species in this complex (Arion ater group): Arion ater, Arion rufus, Arion vulgaris and A. sp Davies (a new species yet to be described). These slug species range from 75 to over 150 mm in length at maturity. They may be dark brown, black, orange or reddish in colour. They are large and bulky with long, course tubercles on the side and back. Specimens may have a dark, sooty grey sole which if present distinguishes this species from the others. It may also have grey between the tubercles and a darker rim to the breathing pore.

Similar Species

Arion ater may rock from side to side when disturbed - a behaviour not generally shared with the others in the complex.

Arion rufus doesn't rock and typically has a brighter foot fringe than the body colour, though this alone isn't sufficient to confirm the species identity.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required and the specimen should be examined with a microscope. In the comments box, state the key or ID method used and describe the size and identifying characters.


Gardens, greenhouses and other fairly moist, well vegetated sites.

When to see it

All year. 

Life History

Diet includes living and dead plant material, fungi etc.

UK Status

Widespread in Britain.

VC55 Status

Status in Leicestershire and Rutland not known.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map