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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2015

Slugs—Might as Well Jump!

Slugs are a group of animals classified as Mollusks since they share a similar bodyform. They usually have no external shell. Those that do have a shell are not able to pull back into the shell like snails are able to do. There are at least four species of jumping slugs: Burrington, Warty, Malone, and the Panther Jumping-slug. These slugs live in the northwest United States (Washington and Oregon) and southwest Canada. Jumping slugs get their name from their very unique “jumping” motion thought to be a defense against predators. This jumping movement is actually a sort of twisting, writhing, and flipping of the body.

Many slugs are hermaphroditic (her-MAA-fro-DIT-ic). That means they have both male and female reproductive organs. They lay scores of tear-shaped, transparent eggs on moist, decaying logs. Slugs typically have tentacles and some, like the Warty Jumping-slug, have a distinctive horn at the end of the tail, which hangs over a mucus pore.

Even though, like snails, slugs move slowly, God designed them to play very important roles in the forest. They feed on decaying wood, fungi, vegetation, and the micro-organisms associated with decaying matter. So these slugs help to decompose forest floor debris, which in turn adds to the organic matter in the soil. Wow! Slugs are one of God’s important tools for making dirt! Notice how God made so many different animals and plants dependent on each other. The Earth is a very complex place that absolutely demands a Creator.

God also designed slugs to digest their food slowly. This rate allows spores and fungal hyphae (HI-fee) to be excreted with the feces. Hyphae are important in helping plants to absorb nutrients and water. Since slugs are so important to the survival of the forest, God even made slug populations able to survive the effects of large fires and to repopulate forests.

Scientists admit there is much not known about slugs. But all of these amazing features of slugs that are known shout out the existence of a Creator and Master Designer. “Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind;' and it was so” (Genesis 1:24).

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