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The Fate of Deroceras reticulatum Following Metaldehyde Poisoning

School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
Fera Science Ltd., Sand Hutton York YO41 1LZ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Lukasz L. Stelinski
Insects 2021, 12(4), 344;
Received: 22 March 2021 / Revised: 2 April 2021 / Accepted: 10 April 2021 / Published: 13 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology and Management of Slug and Snail Pests)
The grey field slug, Deroceras reticulatum (Müller, 1774) (Agriolimacidae), is one of the most economically important crop pests and is a particular threat to oil seed rape and winter wheat. Without effective slug control, it is estimated that the loss of yield due to slug damage could equate to over £100 million annually for the UK agricultural sector. The molluscicide metaldehyde is one of the most common active ingredients used in slug pellets across the globe; however, its application presents a high risk of surface water pollution and threatens non-target wildlife. The control of slugs by metaldehyde relies on slugs consuming or being in contact with a pellet long enough to receive a lethal dose; otherwise, a slug may recover from the dehydrating and paralysing effects of the molluscicide. This research explores the effect of different concentrations of metaldehyde on slug survival, paralysis and recovery after contact with metaldehyde, and highlights the prospect of slug paralysis being a major contributing factor to successful slug control.
The concentration of a pesticide used in agriculture not only has implications for effectiveness of pest control but may also have significant wider environmental consequences. This research explores the acceptability of metaldehyde slug pellets at different concentrations by Deroceras reticulatum (Müller, 1774) (Agriolimacidae), and the changes in the health status of the slug when allowed to recover. The highest metaldehyde concentration (5%) yielded the highest slug mortality; however, it also produced the highest proportion of unpoisoned slugs, suggesting the highest level of pellet rejection. Pellets with 1% metaldehyde were as effective as 3% pellets in paralysing a significant proportion of the population after initial pellet exposure; however, more slugs were able to recover from metaldehyde poisoning at 1% metaldehyde compared with 3%. There was no statistically significant difference between the mortality rate of slugs regardless of metaldehyde concentration, suggesting that a lower concentration of metaldehyde may be as effective as a higher concentration. View Full-Text
Keywords: slug; mollusc; molluscicide; pesticide; chemical control; recovery; pest slug; mollusc; molluscicide; pesticide; chemical control; recovery; pest
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MDPI and ACS Style

Campbell, A.; Audsley, N.; Port, G. The Fate of Deroceras reticulatum Following Metaldehyde Poisoning. Insects 2021, 12, 344.

AMA Style

Campbell A, Audsley N, Port G. The Fate of Deroceras reticulatum Following Metaldehyde Poisoning. Insects. 2021; 12(4):344.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Campbell, Amy, Neil Audsley, and Gordon Port. 2021. "The Fate of Deroceras reticulatum Following Metaldehyde Poisoning" Insects 12, no. 4: 344.

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