My beautiful Limax cinereoniger Alfie passed away today. Alfie joined the family in late October / early November. Zie seemed a happy slug; eating massive amounts of shiitake, oyster mushrooms and fish food, and growing in both length and weight. Zie didn't quite reach the massive 30cm zir species sometimes does, but zie was still a good 15+cm long little monster.
Alfie arrived alone and I planned to try to get zem some company when the weathers allow. Perhaps they'd like each other and make eggs. Little did I know that Alfie already had met someone slimy and special before arriving, and that zie was consuming all that food in preparation of laying eggs.
About a week ago I noticed Alfie wasn't as interested in food as zie had been before. And on Friday night two days ago I caught zem pushing out a massive pile of eggs. Zie seemed exhausted from the laying, zir body in an uncharacteristic position and shrinking as the eggs came out. It didn't seem very pleasant. Yet, the next morning zie was back to normal as far as I could see.
But by the evening it was clear the laying had been too much for Alfie. Zie looked ill, zir body was limp and zie would not show zir tentacles. Alfie was dying. I don't know why, but I suspect either the laying was too much or this species only ever lays once like some slug species do.
Alfie left behind a big bunch of eggs. I hope they hatch so that Alfie's death wasn't for nothing.
Here's Alfie getting to know Garfield. Zie looked so good and healthy! Rest now, little slug.
I'm a bit worried about the eggs. I see some development inside but I had to rinse them a few times and move them as fruitfly maggots got to them! I think a few are spoilt and at least one was eaten... it was within a day that it happened. Hoping for at least some to make it. I can see the embryos! A few already have the funny shape, some are still little else but cell clusters.
So I removed the eggs and washed them and I sterilized the entire tank and contents. Re did the tank then misted it thoroughly.
Then I placed the eggs between some wet leaves and the eggs have hatched except a few left to hatch.
Having them between the moist leaves I was able to lift the upper leaves and give the eggs a mist and each little slug that hatched I lifted off the leaves with a soft wet paint brush and placed the little ones on some food and they began to eat.
I placed some damp bark around the food dish and they are staying under the bark and coming out to eat at night.
So far so good.
3 species unidentified slugs
The other night it was actually mild here but still cold and all the snow had melted so I decided to go slugging. I actually found a medium sized leopard slug slimming across one of my gardens. So I brought him in. Fed him and he ate for about 15 minutes straight away. Poor thing must have been really hungry, especially to be slimming out in the winter. So now he is warm and has lots to eat.
I also found a clutch of eggs the size of leopard eggs under a patio stone so I brought those in to see if I can hatch them and find out what they are.
I found a small black slug as well, I have never seen a black slug so I brought him in as well. If I take a photo can I post it on here to see if you can identify him?
Even found 6 cepaea out. of course I brought them in as well.
3 species unidentified slugs
They didn't look too well so I turned them a bit. One egg broke by accident and turned out I just performed a very late term abortion on a slug. the embryo is almost ready and now it's out. I feel absolutely horrible about this. I doubt it will make it, but I am not sure if it was going to make it in the first place. The eggs are starting to be covered with mold. Hoping the best now.
Poor little slug. just over three weeks, four weeks is hatching time. That would be on friday. Maybe, just maybe he will make it.
Edit: still alive about 30mins later. Put him in a separate box so he stays moist next to moist tissue paper. If he is fully developed and can eat he might be viable. We will know by the morning. If he makes it that far I will allow myself to be hopeful. He's responding reflexively but not moving on his own after the initial forced emergence, but his eyestalks are kind of out. Really weird to see a slug embryo up close and personal.
Edit: heart beating and probably breathing still, after over 90mins. I can see little ripples over his body. But not moving, although has retracted tentacles now. Too early human births can develop outside, I wonder about slugs. He needs some nutrition sooner or later, though slug babes can take a week before emerging from the soil.
Morning edit: he moved a little last night. His eyestalks were out just now and gentle blowing got him to pull them in visibly. I'm now a slug midwife.
He is exploring a bit. Eyestalks fully out. He looks very alike to a newly hatched slug now, though very small. It's pretty amazing for an early hatchling forced out of the egg, he's even sniffing the food now.
Edit: Annnnd opening the egg box I see another little guy on the wall. Apparently it's time, not one bit too late judging by the mold on the eggs.
So far 7 out. The others have some pigment and are bigger so it was too early for this guy. But he's still holding on, moving a little but mostly they all stay asleep, putting out tentacles now and then. Lots still in eggs, they need to hurry up and get out!
"Fabulous and advanced slug technology will rule the world."
My current snail family (& family album): A.achatina, A.fulica, A.hortensis, A.vulgaris C.nemoralis, C.lubrica D.invadens, E.vermiculata H.aspersa, H.pomatia L.alte, L.cinereoniger, L.maximus O.cellarius, R.decollata, T.pisana
Eight made it out. The rest appear to have rotten by now, which is a shame. Most eggs had little guys inside. RIP little ones, shame you didn't make it. I'm hoping the first-hatched baby will make it. He looks a bit off right now, not sure if he's eating. The seven others are active and eating as far as I can see.
Here's four of them visible!
Sent from my GT-I9300 using proboards
Edit: looks like the first one didn't make it. poor thing died with his eyestalks out. I feel pretty awful now... but I tried saving him. Rest in peace, Alfie Jr. You were such a cute little thing.