Question about Slugs

October 14, 1999
From: Kevin Klein

me and my friend are doing a report and we looked this site up on a search engine, and we need to ask u something that we have been looking for and have been unable to find, What are slugs' lifespan. Please help ASAP cuz the report will be due 10/21/99 and we need this soon!

Kevin & Kevin

Klein, K., 1999 (Oct 14) Question about Slugs. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Kevin & Kevin

I hope you are asking about sea slugs not land slugs. Basically not all sea slugs have the same life history.

Most species seem to live for about one year, although the tropical Sea Hare Dolabella auricularia can live for six years in an aquarium and the Antarctic cephalaspidean Philine gibba can live for up to four and a half years in nature. On the other hand there are small nudibranchs, especially those that live and feed on short-lived cnidarian colonies which have extremely short life cycles. For example both the European aeolid Tenellia pallida and the coral-eating tropical aeolid Cuthona poritophages can mature in three weeks, and probably die within two or three months. In the case of these very short-lived species, they need to complete their life-cycle before the colony they live and feed on dies. If they are too slow then they will themselves die from starvation before they can breed.

It is also important to realise that many sea slugs have a free-swimming larval stage so that the off-spring can escape from their parent's dying colony and find a new one of their own. Have a look at the General Topics Index for information on larvae.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Oct 14). Comment on Question about Slugs by Kevin Klein. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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