The species spotted, named Leidyula Sloanii, “is native to Jamaica but it was most certainly introduced in Martinique with exotic plants”, advances Régis Delannoye, expert in the study of molluscs.
The presence of a species of slug among “the most harmful in the world for crops” has been observed in Martinique with increasing frequency since the beginning of the year, announced this month a note from the Center for Exotic Species Resources. invasive (CRE-EEE).
Also known as the “pancake slug” due to its light mottled appearance, the gastropod has been spotted in at least four towns in the northern half of Martinique.
“We can see that it is already starting to spread”, warned Régis Delannoye, expert in malacology (the study of molluscs), on the antenna of the local radio RCI.
A health risk
This slug, “the largest (…) observed in the Caribbean” according to the CRE-EEE, has been living in Florida as well as in Guadeloupe for more than ten years where it is considered “a real plague ” according to the scientist: “At home, it attacks the trunks of banana trees by causing diseases”, deplores Régis Delannoye, claiming to have even seen it attack “a cactus”.
In addition to the damage it causes to crops, the presence of this slug constitutes a health risk for human beings because it can be “a vector of parasitic diseases (…) causing meningitis (which can be fatal)”.
Table salt or tobacco dust, as well as molluscicidal powders are used to control its population in the other islands where it proliferates.