These Giant Pink Love Slugs Can Only Be Found On A Volcano In Australia

February 22, 2018

If you're ever exploring Mount Kaputar, an extinct volcano in New South Wales, Australia, you might be lucky enough to see a giant hot pink slug.

pink love slug
Photo credit: Michael Murphy / NPWS

Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Michael Murphy says the colorful critter is actually its own species.

“Recent morphological and genetics work by a researcher working on this slug family — the Athorcophoridae — has indicated the Kaputar slugs are a unique species endemic to Mount Kaputar and the only representative of this family in inland Australia,” said Murphy.

pink love slug
Photo credit: Michael Murphy / NPWS

The high altitude slugs grow to about 20 centimeters (8 inches) in length.

Murphy says on mornings after rain you can sometimes see hundreds of pink slugs making their way back down the trees after a night foraging for lichen and moss.

pink love slug
Photo credit: Michael Murphy / NPWS

"It's just one of those magical places, especially when you are up there on a cool, misty morning," said Murphy.

"It's a tiny island of alpine forest, hundreds of kilometres away from anything else like it. The slugs, for example, are buried in the leaf mould during the day, but sometimes at night they come out in their hundreds and feed off the mould and moss on the trees. They are amazing, unreal-looking creatures."

pink love slug
Photo credit: K J Lowe / ABC.net.au

Why are they bright pink?

"There's one idea that the pink color camouflages them against the colour of fallen snow gum leaves on the forest floor," Murphy said. "But then again they spend a lot of their time way up in the canopy nowhere near the floor... so it might just be that if you're a giant slug way up on an isolated mountain top, you can be whatever color you like."

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