Things do not get a whole lot more slug-errific around here than they were this week. There have been exciting developments in both boxes of slugs, and it feels like spring will be a good time for Elysia here in Maryland.
In Box of Slugs 1, the group of E. clarki that arrived from Carolina Biological in December has fattened up and started laying eggs. I hope this perfectly coiled mass symbolizes the beginning of a productive time for this setup. With a few new ideas, I think we should be producing small slugs by the dozen.
Box of Slugs 2 is has been even more fun. The miniature slugs have been growing rapidly, moving quickly from tiny wiggly objects to small versions of their parents.The one below is looking very much like a proper E. clarki.
Nonetheless, they are still babies. For a sense of scale, here is one of the youngsters perched above mom/dad on a Penicillus plant.
Finally, and possibly most exciting, KP Aquatics let me know that the had collected some E. crispata this week. As the project has developed, I have tried to find suppliers who can provide me with the three North American species, E. clarki, E. crispata, and E. diomedea. In the past, I have ordered “lettuce sea slugs” from various suppliers, and always received E. clarki. Don’t get me wrong, E. clarki is a wonderful species, but I was a bit frustrated that the suppliers did not seem very interested in which species they were shipping.
That was not the case with KP Aquatics. After they sent the first batch of clarki, which produced the lovely offspring pictured above, I corresponded with Kara, who seemed very interested in the differences between the species. It was refreshing that they truly wanted to understand the organisms that they collect.
So, Philipp emailed me this week that they had five crispata, and I decided I had to have them. Shipping went fine, despite the frigid temperatures, and they settled into the smorgasbord of Penicillus, Halimeda, Avrainvillea and hair algae without a hitch. Although I should love all slugs equally, I must say the new kids are the real beauties of the collection.