An interesting paper in an unexpected journal: Capinera published about the acceptatibility of plant by a veronicellid slug. His abstract reads as follows: “Leidyula floridana (Leidy) (Gastropoda: Veronicellidae) has long been known to be a plant pest in the Caribbean region and southern Florida, though its range has expanded to include northern Florida, other Gulf Coast states, and Mexico. It is nocturnal, and often overlooked as a source of plant damage. Although polyphagous, it does not feed on all plants, and it is desirable to know what bedding plants will likely be damaged by this common herbivorous slug. To identify readily accepted bedding plants, I conducted a series of comparative trials of 7 d duration to assess the acceptance of 30 commonly grown bedding plants relative to French marigold, a plant that is commonly fed upon by slugs and snails. Several commonly grown bedding plants were shown to be very susceptible to feeding injury. In a second set of 7-d trials, I compared 14 plants from among those that were not readily accepted in the first set of trials to determine if they would remain poorly accepted when not provided with favored food. In the second set of trials, the levels of herbivory shown in the first trials were maintained, demonstrating that some bedding plants are not acceptable to L. floridana even when the slugs do not have access to acceptable food. Thus, a list of readily available bedding plants that resist herbivory by this slug has been determined, providing gardeners with slug-resistant choices. The most unacceptable species (damage rating = 1.00) were: lantana (Lantana camara L.; Verbenaceae), tickseed (Coreopsis spp.; Asteraceae), torenia (Torenia fournieri Linden ex E. Fourn.; Linderiaceae), angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia Benth.; Plantaginaceae), and snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.; Plantaginaceae). Additional plant species that were not very acceptable (damage rating of between 1.00 and 1.50) were blue daze (Evolvulus glomeratus Choisy; Convolvulaceae), dusty miller (Centaurea cineraria [L.] Jacq. ex Nym.; Asteraceae), viola (Viola hybrid; Violaceae), celosia (Celosia argentea L.; Amaranthaceae), and geranium (Geranium spp.; Geraniaceae). In contrast, plant species that seem to be at considerable risk of damage (damage rating 3 to 5) by L. floridana were: French marigold (Tagetes patula L.; Asteraceae), Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus [L.] G. Don; Apocyanaceae), coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides [L.] R. Br.; Laminaceae), petchoa (Petunia × Calibrachoa; Solanaceae), zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq.; Asteraceae), polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya Baker; Acanthaceae), chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat; Solanaceae), petunia (Petunia spp.; Solanaceae), Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis [Hill] Greene; Asteraceae), scarlet sage (Salvia splendens Sellow ex Nees; Lamiaceae), butter daisy (Melampodium paludosum Kunth; Asteraceae) and verbena (Verbena spp.; Geraniaceae). A few species were intermediate in susceptibility, namely: impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull; Balsamaniaceae), wax begonia (Begonia × Semperflorens × Cultorum; Begoniaceae), sweet potato vine (Ipomoea spp.; Convolvulaceae), firecracker flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis [L.] Nees; Acanthceae), sweet William (Dianthus barbatus L.; Caryophyllaceae), pansy (Viola × Wittrochinana; Violaceae), purslane (Portulaca oleraceae L.; Portulacaceae), and alyssum (Lobularia maritima [L.] Desv.; Brasscaeae)“.
Although primairily aimed at gardeners it seems, this might be interesting for related species. And perhaps even slugs from other families which iare known as pests might be tested in a similar way.
Capinera, J., 2020. Acceptability of bedding plants by the leatherleaf slug, Leidyula floridana (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Veronicellidae). – Florida Entomologist 103(1): 80-84.