alienspecies.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/content/sightings

Click on the link to visit the Alien Sightings map on the Aliens Among Us website. Which species have made their way into your neighbourhood? Where have Giant Garden Slugs been spotted? Have you seen a Giant Garden Slug? Take a picture and plot the location on the interactive map.
alienspecies.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/content/sightings

Click on the link to visit the Alien Sightings map on the Aliens Among Us website. Which species have made their way into your neighbourhood? Where have Giant Garden Slugs been spotted? Have you seen a Giant Garden Slug? Take a picture and plot the location on the interactive map.

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Photo of a Giant Garden Slug, Limax maximus

Giant Garden Slug with pneumostone open

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Photo of a Giant Garden Slug, Limax maximus

Giant Garden slug slimes its way across a leaf.

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Photo of a Banana slug, Ariolimax columbianus

The Banana Slug, which is native to British Columbia, is mostly found in forest habitats. It is unlikely that its habitat overlaps or is affected by the spread of the Giant Garden Slug. Notice the difference in colour and pattern between the two species.

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Video of Royal BC Museum Curator of Invertebrates, Melissa Frey, talking about the introduced Giant Garden Slug.

Melissa Frey, Curator of Invertebrates at the Royal BC Museum, talks about the introduced Giant Garden Slug, Limax maximus.

Royal BC Museum – Where the Past Lives

Aliens Among Us

Slugs

Melissa Frey, Curator, Invertebrates, Royal BC Museum

My name is Melissa Frey, Curator of Invertebrates at the Royal BC Museum.  You identify a Giant Garden Slug typically by it’s size for one thing, they are large, they can measure somewhere between 10 and 20 centimeters.  Although these individuals are a little bit smaller.

In terms of their colouration, their colouration can vary, but they tend to be brown to grey in colour.  They’re mottled with these black to dark brown spots all the way along their body. 

They have a region called the mantle, which is up here near the head, and this mantle has little tiny concentric ridges or folds which, if you look closely enough you can see those.   This is characteristic of this species relative to something like the native Pacific Banana Slug because the Pacific Banana Slug has on the mantle, little tiny granules. 

The other thing about the Garden Slug here is that you can see here on the right side of the mantle, it is an opening.  This opening is called the pneumostome, and the pneumostome is what they use to breath out of.  The location of this pneumostome is slightly behind the midline of the mantle posterior.  So that is another characteristic that you can use to key out the Garden Slug. 

The Giant Garden Slug, like many terrestrial snails and slugs that have been introduce to BC are typically considered pests.  We don’t always know exactly how they interact with native snails and slugs but one of the trends that we tend to see is that in regions that these species are introduced we tend to see a decline in the native snails and slugs in that area. 

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Video of Royal BC Museum staff talking about the recent arrival of Humboldt Squid (Dosidicus gigas) on British Columbia shore

The massive Humboldt Squid is a recent alien invader on British Columbia shores.

Royal BC Museum – Where the Past Lives

Museum Moments

It’s often been said that our oceans are our last and greatest remaining natural mystery on planet Earth.  This past year, BC’s coastline became a little more mysterious. 

Hi, I’m Connie Mitchell here at the Royal BC Museum with Jim Cosgrove.  Take a look at this, Jim what is this? 

Connie, this is a Humboldt Squid, also known as a Jumbo Flying Squid and last year, for the very first time,  these appeared in British Columbia’s waters.  Full size, this animal can be the same as my size, six feet tall and 200 pounds.

It typically feeds on fish, it’s also cannibalistic so they will eat each other and they have the potential to be dangerous to humans. 

Really, how so? 

Well, let me show you.  Take a look in the microscope Connie.  These are the sucker rings and they actually have teeth on them. 

Wow, they’re beautiful but they do look dangerous.  So, what is the mystery Jim?

Well, the mystery is why did these animals come to British Columbia.  Typically they live from Mexico down to Tierra del Fuego in South America.  But last year, they were here in the tens of thousands for the very first time. 

Do we know why?

It may be warmer water, it may be that they were displaced by larger animals further south, it may be that they were chasing a particular food source.  A number of possibilities.  We’ll have to wait until maybe this year to find out why. 

Every year, the museum’s scientists and research partners conduct detailed inventories about BC’s plants and animals including ocean life.  This is just one more of the mysteries they are working on. 

You can uncover your own mysteries in person or online at www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca.

Shaw Communications Inc.

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Description
Students use the worksheet below to guide them through an exploration of the resources in the Aliens Among Us website and the Aliens in the Classroom learning object collection.

Method
Print a class set of worksheets for students to complete on their own.

Alien Ecology Worksheet

Student Name___________________________________

Class/Teacher___________________________________


Respond to the questions below by referring to the digital resources in the Aliens in the Classroom learning object, It’s All Connected, and the Aliens Among Us website. Use the back of the sheet for your answers if necessary.


1. Giant Garden Slugs (Limax maximus) are an introduced decomposer. Describe impacts they may have on other organisms. Identify each organism you mention as a producer, consumer or decomposer.

Read More
Description
Students use the worksheet below to guide them through an exploration of the resources in the Aliens Among Us website and the Aliens in the Classroom learning object collection.

Method
Print a class set of worksheets for students to complete on their own.

Alien Ecology Worksheet

Student Name___________________________________

Class/Teacher___________________________________


Respond to the questions below by referring to the digital resources in the Aliens in the Classroom learning object, It’s All Connected, and the Aliens Among Us website. Use the back of the sheet for your answers if necessary.


1. Giant Garden Slugs (Limax maximus) are an introduced decomposer. Describe impacts they may have on other organisms. Identify each organism you mention as a producer, consumer or decomposer.





2. Giant Garden Slugs are spreading throughout the province. What are some of the factors affecting the population growth of this alien species?





3. How are humans impacting the population growth of this introduced species?





4. Humboldt Squid (Dosidicus gigas) is an example of an alien species that is a natural invader. It has come here without human help. Referring to the Aliens Among Us website, identify other examples of alien species that have arrived in British Columbia this way.




5. On a separate sheet, create a bar graph, line graph, pie chart, table or diagram to visually convey the spread of an alien species within a region of British Columbia. Be sure to label your work appropriately to show relevant variables such as location, number of sightings, and length of time.

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
• interpret data from a variety of text and visual sources
• describe some of the functional interrelationships of organisms within an ecosystem
• create a bar graph, line graph, pie chart, table or diagram to convey information visually

This learning object is linked to prescribed learning outcomes from the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Education, Integrated Resource Package for Grade 11 Science.

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