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COSEWIC assessment and status report on the dromedary jumping-slug in Canada

Special Significance of the Species

 

Hemphillia dromedarius is one of relatively few native slugs in west coast forests in Canada, and it provides an important contribution to the biodiversity of these forests. Furthermore, at present we do not know the degree of genetic differentiation of Canadian populations with respect to those in the United States. The ecological importance of H. dromedarius is unknown. The Pacific Banana-slug, Ariolimax columbianus, appears to play a role as a dispersal agent for fungal spores, including those fungi that form mycorhizal associations with tree roots (Richter 1980). However, without accurate information on the diet of H. dromedarius, whether this species plays a similar ecological role remains speculative.

In the United States, three related species (H. malonei, H. glandulosa and H. burringtoni) are listed as “survey and manage” species under the Northwest Forest Plan (Kelley et al. 1999), but H. dromedarius has no special status.

Because of their distinct appearance and remarkable escape behaviour,

jumping-slugs typically generate interest and have appeal to the general public as charismatic invertebrates. Members of this genus, including H. dromedarius, could be useful as flagship species for promoting awareness and conservation of forest floor invertebrates and their habitats.

The species has no commercial value. There is no evidence of Aboriginal use, although the larger and more abundant Pacific Banana-slug had some medicinal uses (N. Turner, pers. comm.).