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Keywords:

  • Slugs;
  • Deroceras reticulatum;
  • ryegrass;
  • white clover;
  • seedling establishment;
  • herbivore-plant relationship;
  • pest;
  • damage;
  • Stellaria media;
  • Senecio vulgaris;
  • Cardamine hirsuta;
  • Epilobium

Summary

The relationship between numbers of Deroceras reticulatum and the establishment of ryegrass cv. Melle and white clover cv. Milkanova was studied on a mini-plot experiment. Assessments 12 and 33 days after sowing showed that Deroceras reticulatum had a proportionally greater impact on survival and growth of clover than on ryegrass. Slugs had no apparent effect on numbers or growth of three species of broad-leaved weeds (Senecio vulgaris, Cardamine hirsuta and Epilobium sp.) which occurred in the field experiment. In pot experiments where seedlings of ryegrass together with one of three clover cultivars, with or without chickweed (Stellaria media), were exposed to Deroceras reticulatum, seedlings of white clover cv. Aran were less affected by slug grazing than cvs S184 or Milkanova. The presence of different clover cultivars did not significantly influence the impact of slugs on growth of ryegrass or chickweed, nor did the presence or absence of chickweed influence the effect of slugs on ryegrass and clover seedlings. Slugs had less impact on the growth of chickweed than on ryegrass or clover. Thus slug grazing would make clover less able to compete with chickweed as well as the other weeds found in the mini-plot experiment.