Fri, 14 Sep 2012 04:14 CDT
A plague of "super-slugs" has arrived in the UK from Spain, travelling on imported salads and flowers.
The Spanish invaders are mating with species already found in Britain to create a "mutant" species which threatens to eat its way through our crops and native slug species.
The giant Spanish slug, which can grow up to 15cm long, has already travelled as far as Wales. They produce hundreds more eggs than native slugs meaning they are capable of overrunning British species. They could also spread parasites and diseases that could wipe out native slugs.
"The Spanish Slug (Arion vulgaris) and a close relative nicknamed the Spanish Stealth Slug (Arion flagellus) are both an invasion threat," said Gordon Port, an invertebrate expert from the Newcastle University.
"Both species are known to be present in the UK, but in mainland Europe they have produced plagues and it is only a matter of time before the same thing happens here."
The slugs aren't picky when it comes to eating. They've been known to eat through dead rabbits, dog faeces and even their fellow slugs.
Drivers are also at risk. The plagues of slugs are known to cause slicks on the road where they have been run over and squashed.