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Triboniophorus aff. graeffei: The Giant Pink Slugs of Mount Kaputar, Australia

Triboniophorus aff. graeffei: The Giant Pink Slugs of Mount Kaputar, Australia

Zaman Siddiqui

If you’ve gone hiking in Mount Kaputar in New South Wales, Australia, and if by any chance you’ve seen a tuna sashimi-looking thing – remember that it’s not sashimi at all. End of story.

Well, just kidding, we know that no one will be stupid enough to grab some chopsticks when they see these slimy, giant slugs.

These big fluorescent pink slugs are nature’s living creatures that decorate the alpine forest of the isolated Mount Kaputar. They usually pop out during rainy nights, which is when they look for algae and mosses on trees, and sometimes they also eat their fellow slugs.

Scientifically named as Triboniophorus aff. graeffei, these carnivorous slugs look for vegetarian slugs by crawling around the area, searching for slime trails of the other slugs, and hunting each to dine on. They are just only one of the three cannibal slugs that live in Mount Kaputar.

These slugs are about 20 centimeters in length, and when the day starts, they hide in the plant litter at the base of trees. At night, that’s when they go out and eat, and this cycle continues every day.

So far, there’s isn’t any other place where you can see these slugs, but only atop Mount Kaputar. Science says that these pink slugs won’t exist if a volcanic eruption didn’t occur 17 million years ago.

The eruption created a high-altitude, ten square-kilometer area where these slugs and other invertebrates and plants have survived and lived isolated for a long time after climate change caused the damp rainforest of eastern Australia to vanish.

These slugs, just like any other invertebrates, serve as an important part of the ecosystem for recycling plant matter. Besides these hot-pink slugs, there are also other unique invertebrates that live in Mount Kaputar, like the Kaputar hairy snail and the Kaputar cannibal snail.

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