T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Slug (Paua Slug) Schizoglossa novoseelandica novoseelandica

Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum:  Mollusca
Class:  Gastropoda
Unranked:  Heterobranchia
Clade:  Euthyneura
Clade:  Panpulmonata
Clade:  Eupulmonata
Clade: Stylommatophora
Informal group:  Sigmurethra
Superfamily:  Rhytidoidea
Family:  Rhytididae
Genus:  Schizoglossa
Species:  S. novoseelandica
Sub Species: S. novoseelandica novoseelandica
Binomial name:  Schizoglossa novoseelandica novoseelandica
Synonym: Daudebardia novoseelandica
Common name:  Paua Slug

Schizoglossa novoseelandica novoseelandica is a large, native, predatory carnivorous species of air-breathing land slug or semi-slug, a terrestrial gastropod mollusc in the family Rhytididae. It is the type species of the genus Schizoglossa and is found only in New Zealand only in the upper half of the N. Island. Localities include: Te Henui Walkway New Plymouth, Kakepuku Mountain in Waikato Region, Piropiro in the Pureora Forest Park, Wainuiomata in Wellington Region, Toko near Stratford and Cape Egmont and Mount Messenger Conservation Area in Taranaki Region, Wanganui (in Bushy Park) and Hunterville in Manawatu-Wanganui Region, Whangarei Heads in Northland Region, Ohingaiti, Kaimai Ranges between Waikato Region and Bay of Plenty Region. It can be also found in Mount Tongariro/Lake Taupo area. The other sub species is Schizoglossa novoseelandica barrierensis and is only found on Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

This is a slug with a vestigial shell (no longer used like a snail). The shell is small, rudimentary, auriform (ear-shaped) and is situated far back on the animal. The shell is incapable of containing the body, and is reduced to the function of a shield for the lungs and heart. The shell is rudimentary, paucispiral (having few spirals), and nacreous (resembling mother of pearl) within. The columella ((meaning little column) is excavated into a pit for the reception of the shell-muscle. The animal has no rachidian (2 pairs of lateral teeth) teeth. Like other slugs and snails they prefer a damp, protected environment, foraging nocturnally when the humidity is high.

Though the survival of this species is not threatened it is under pressure due to habitat destruction and introduced predators like the pig, rat, and blackbird which forage in its preferred habitat. It is not listed in the 2009 IUCN Red List nor is it in the 2005 New Zealand Threat Classification System lists.

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The slug in resting position.

Close up of Schizoglossa novoseelandica novoseelandica  head.

The paua (abolone) like vestigial shell.