The team looked at slug feeding damage to seedling monocultures of 23 meadow species. The severity and rate of damage suffered by each plant species was analysed and each species ranked for their acceptability and hence potential vulnerability to slugs in meadows.
Drawing up a 'hierarchy of acceptability', the team found the slugs' favourite five were: yarrow; Yorkshire fog; rough-stalked meadow grass, creeping red fescue and red clover. On the bright side, said Dr Barlow, the slugs did not like the seedlings of some of the desirable wildflowers such as wood cranesbill, rough hawkbit and greater burnet.
Newcastle University's Dr Gordon Port, a senior lecturer and an expert in pest management said: "Just like us, slugs have their favourites and will eat some plants in preference to others.
"We have to cope with native slugs in our gardens and crops, but this research shows they can be equally damaging in natural systems. If invasive species, like the Spanish slug establish in the UK it will move the battle against slugs to a much higher level."
|Contact: Dr. Gordon Port|