We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Ghost Slug?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
AllThingsNature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AllThingsNature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A ghost slug is a carnivorous nocturnal slug first discovered in Wales in 2006. The closest relatives of the ghost slug are found in Eastern Europe, leading researchers to believe that the ghost slug may be an introduced species. However, it is certainly a distinct species, and it has been awarded its very own specific epithet: Selenochlamys ysbryda. Due to concerns that the ghost slug is an introduced, rather than native, species, researchers are keeping close tabs on the spread of the animals to ensure that they do not harm native wildlife.

The first ghost slug was spotted and photographed in 2006, but researchers didn't fully realize the magnitude of the find. In 2007, a gardener in Cardiff, Wales discovered another slug, and brought it to researchers at the local university. Once scientists had a specimen to work with, they realized that an entirely new species had been discovered.

Ghost slugs are entirely white, looking rather like a banana slug dipped in bleach at first glance, which explains their common name, as well as their specific epithet, which is derived from the Welsh word ysbryd, which means “ghost.” These slugs are eyeless, and they have a set of sharp teeth which they use like ratchets to haul in prey such as worms; upon magnification, the teeth are actually quite formidable. One researcher describes the eating process as being akin to slurping up a piece of spaghetti.

Researchers believe that ghost slugs probably evolved in a cave environment, which explains their lack of eyes and nocturnal habits. They may have been imported to Wales as hitchhikers on gardening supplies, which would have allowed them to spread in Welsh gardens. These eyeless slugs are certainly distinct from native Welsh species, making it unlikely that they are of Welsh origin.

The discovery of the Welsh slug highlights the role which members of the general public can play in the sciences. If a curious gardener had not brought in a ghost slug to the university, researchers might not have made the discovery, and the slugs could have proliferated extensively before being brought to the attention of the scientific community. Instead, scientists have a head start on learning about the ghost slug, which may be useful if the slugs become a serious pest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Ghost Slug and where does it come from?

The Ghost Slug, scientifically known as Selenochlamys ysbryda, is a predatory, nocturnal slug that was first discovered in Wales in 2007. It is notable for its pale, almost translucent body and lack of eyes. Originally from Eastern Europe, it is believed to have been accidentally introduced to the UK through the horticultural trade.

What does the Ghost Slug eat?

Unlike many other slugs that feed on plants, the Ghost Slug is carnivorous. It preys on earthworms, using its blade-like teeth to capture and consume them. This unique feeding behavior has intrigued scientists, as it is quite rare among slug species, which are typically herbivorous or detritivorous.

How does the Ghost Slug hunt its prey?

The Ghost Slug hunts primarily at night, using a keen sense of smell to locate earthworms. It then uses its extendable radula, a ribbon-like structure lined with tiny teeth, to grasp and shred its prey. The slug's stealthy movements and pale coloration make it an effective nocturnal predator.

Is the Ghost Slug harmful to gardens or agriculture?

Since the Ghost Slug feeds on earthworms rather than plants, it is not considered a pest to gardens or crops. In fact, its presence is relatively neutral in terms of agricultural impact. However, its predatory nature could potentially affect local earthworm populations, which are important for soil health and aeration.

How can I identify a Ghost Slug in my garden?

To identify a Ghost Slug, look for a pale, almost white slug that is typically around 7 cm long when fully grown. It has a distinctive lack of eyes and a keeled back, which differentiates it from other slug species. You're most likely to spot them at night when they are active.

Are Ghost Slugs endangered or protected?

As of my knowledge cutoff in 2023, the Ghost Slug is not listed as endangered or protected. It is a relatively recent discovery, and there is limited information on its global population status. However, as an introduced species in the UK, it is monitored to understand its impact on local ecosystems.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllThingsNature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.