18 August 2022
A Harper Adams study which uncovered some fascinating insights into slug behaviour has been covered in Crop Production Magazine.
The magazine talks to Professor of Invertebrate Biology and Pest Management Keith Walters about the study – and some of the implications it could have for crops.
Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) trackers, the researchers examined how slugs behave in fields – and if that behaviour could be predicted.
Professor Walters told the magazine: “We found that when a slug detects another slug, it changes its behaviour. It travels more slowly, covering shorter distances, and has a bias to its turning angle. We don’t know why slugs in relatively dense patches tend to turn left, but it means they travel in a circle and congregate.”
This behaviour means that slugs can form patches – so the research also set out to discover if these patches were stable in both time and location, and how large their patches can get.
The team even ran computer algorithms to assess how the slugs behaved – with some amazing results.