60 Fluorescent Pink Slugs Survive Australian Bushfires
Nope, you’re not looking at a rogue chilli pepper which has gotten all mixed up inside your fridge drawer salad bag.
This hot pink critter is in fact a very rare type of slug, which can only be found on the top of Mount Kaputar, an extinct volcano in New South Wales, Australia.
This hefty scorcher – or to give him his proper title, the Triboniophorus aff. graeffei – is an absolute beast amongst slugs, and is capable of growing to about 20 centimetres (eight inches) in length. And it would appear they’re pretty much indestructible.
Despite their alpine habitat having been mostly destroyed during the devastating Kaputar fire – which blazed for six weeks – these sizzling survivors have prevailed.
Approximately 60 of these feisty looking fellas have been spotted alive, having survived the flames which engulfed their beautiful mountaintop.
The slugs were spotted after rainfall – as is common with such creatures. However, these slugs are anything but ordinary.
Mount Kaputar is home to multiple species of extremely rare slugs and snails which can’t be found anywhere else on Earth. Sadly, it’s thought around 90% of the general slug population perished during the bushfires, as the Independent reports.
During an interview with Warmly some years back, Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Michael Murphy spoke about these surprisingly beautiful creatures, and the ‘magical’ habitat they call home.
It’s just one of those magical places, especially when you are up there on a cool, misty morning. 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.
There’s one idea that the pink colour camouflages them against the colour of fallen snow gum leaves on the forest floor.
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 colour you like.
These striking slugs provide a timely and poignant reminder of the richly unique diversity of Australia’s natural habitat, and the urgent need to protect it.
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