Quick facts

Common names: lemon slug

Scientific name: Malacolimax tenellus

Family: Limacidae

Habitat: ancient woodland

Diet: fungi

Predators: possibly hedgehogs and birds

Origin: native

What do lemon slugs look like?

As the name suggests, lemon slugs are bright yellow in colour with purple or black tentacles.

Credit: Alastair Hotchkiss / WTML

What do lemon slugs eat?

Lemon slugs feed on the plentiful fungi that grow in ancient woodland.

How do lemon slugs breed?

Lemon slugs are hermaphrodites that curl around each other and exchange sperm during mating. After mating, they lay their eggs in a sheltered spot. They can live for more than two years.

Where do lemon slugs live?

Lemon slugs are only found in ancient woodland. They occur across the UK, but are rare and spend most of the year out of sight under the leaf litter that lines the forest floor.

The presence of lemon slugs can be used as an indicator that a wood might be ancient.

Trees woods and wildlife

A sign of ancient woodland

The lemon slug is an ancient-woodland indicator. If you spot it while you're out exploring, it could be a sign you're standing in a rare and special habitat.

Learn more about ancient woodland

Signs and spotting tips

Look out for lemon slugs in autumn when they emerge from beneath the leaf litter to mate. You are most likely to see one feeding on mushrooms.

Threats and conservation

Lemon slugs are nationally rare. As ancient woodland specialists, their fate is tied to that of an irreplaceable habitat. With ancient woodland now covering just two percent of the UK, protecting the little that remains is key to the species' survival.