Introduction to Terrestrial Mollusc Tool

The Terrestrial Mollusc Tool was specifically designed to assist in the identification of adult terrestrial slugs and snails of agricultural importance. The tool also includes species of quarantine significance as well as invasive and contaminant mollusc species commonly intercepted at U.S. ports of entry. This Lucid-based identification tool specifically targets federal, state and other agencies or organizations within the U.S. that are concerned with the detection and identification of molluscs of significance. This tool includes 33 families and 128 species. This resource also includes an interactive identification key, comparison chart, fact sheets, biological and ecological notes, a dissection tutorial, a glossary of commonly used terms, and a list of useful links and references. It should be noted that this dynamic tool is not inclusive of all mollusc pests, as new species of interest arise almost daily.

The list of species included in this tool was generated based on pest species reported in scholarly publications by Barker 2002, Cowie et al. 2009, and Godan 1983 as well as commonly intercepted species documented in the port of entry interception data from US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine division (USDA-APHIS-PPQ) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) -Division of Plant Industry.

The pictorial key included in the Terrestrial Mollusc Tool is unable to identify a few entities below the family level. This is true especially for the families Veronicellidae and Succineidae. The major reason for this is the lack of diagnostic morphological characters and the variability of members of these groups. In many cases, it is recommended that molecular techniques be used in the identification of members of these families (Holland and Cowie 2007; Gomes et al. 2010). This inadequacy of the key is, however, mitigated by the fact that most if not all members of these problematic groups are pestiferous and as such are regulated at the family level. The same is true for the species complexes (e.g., Arion hortensis group, A. ater group) included in the tool.

The Terrestrial Mollusc Tool was developed and published by the Center for Plant Health Science and Technology (CPHST) as part of a cooperative agreement with the Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) and is under the direction of Terrence Walters, CPHST Identification Technology Program (ITP) coordinator.

The photographs utilized in this tool were generously provided by those credited on each. The photographers and organizations that gave permission to use their images are also credited in the acknowledgements. All drawings were produced by the University of Florida, unless otherwise noted.

See Copyright, Citation and Disclaimers for information about the use of content on these pages and all the pages included in this tool. For information concerning the Terrestrial Mollusc Tool or to offer any feedback or comments, please contact the author or the Entomology and Nematology department at the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.