Man and Mollusc's Data Base of Edible Molluscs

Inedible Families & or Species


Countries where found
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    Sea Hares, Sea Slugs

  • From a Conch-L source: "the Mediterranean sea hare has been incriminated in human poisoning since Pliny's report in the first century A. D. The toxin is associated with the salivary apparatus and probably is important in predation."

  • There are a few noted exceptions: (see page #1 )However, Before eating such a sea slug, I would be very careful to find out exactly how this slug should be prepared! For example, do they remove the skin & digestive gland first?

  • SeaSlug Forum: Dr Bill Rudman
    Principal Research Scientist
    B.Sc, M.Sc, Ph.D, D.Sc.

  • Article of Interest: Boiled Sea-Slugs. Thes more than likely are sea cucumers and not seslugs.

Land Slugs: There is a lot of discussion as to the edibility of land slugs. Those shelless, slimy molluscs that love to eat our garden and orchard produce amongst other less tasty vitals.

They say that some are edible but are not very tasty. Some reports says they leave a very strong peppery taste in their mouth.

I've heard that the slime coating some slugs can be sort of a mild anesthetic thus freezing the mucous membranes of the mouth and esophagus. Not to palatable and actually could prove dangerous as one could choke, bite their tongue etc.! These slime or mucous coatings on slugs are a soup of noxious chemicals used to ward off predators.

Many slugs are the hosts for some nasty flukes and bacteria. They are the cleanup crew for forest floors, gardens and such. With slugs around, you will not need a pooper scooper for cleaning up after your dog! YUK!!!

It is reported that there was a fatality due to eating a slug as a campus prank. The student later died from liver flukes.. Whether this is truth or an urban legend, I cannot tell.

I've also heard that Native North Americans would toss the large black slug into their fires to cook and rid them of the noxious slime then have a good feed. Once again, I am unable to find any documentation to support this claim; but I'm searching!


  • Lovell, M. S. 1884 (2nd ed.). The Edible Mollusca of Great Britain and Ireland with Recipies for cooking them. "The only entry for slugs in the index to Lovell is to the claim that "Pliny also recommends [for headache] a plaster of slugs, cut up and pounded, and applied to the forehead." (p. 219)

  • How about this French dish...
"Lingots salés des Jardin!"
(Salted Garden Slugs)
...when salted live they come in their own
"Créme de boue sauce"
* Chilled and wrapped in wilted greens,
with a Pinot-Blanc white wine.
* Roasted with Dijon mustard,
with a Demi-Sec Champagne.
* Minced with garlic on a wheat cracker,
with Bordeaux red wine.


Do you have any facts or legends on this subject, Please e-mail me: Avril


Conch-L Posting: September 06, 2003

"I think you'll find that almost all molluscs are edible. Some may not taste nice, though! Sulfide-habitat, methane-seep and whalefall species such as Lepetodrilus, Paracocculina cervae (being offered by dealers as Osteopelta mirabilis) and Adipicola being the toxic exceptions.

Andrew G"


One potential hazard of eating large chitons and other large grazers is that the radulas may be indigestible. Eating too many may produce the equivalent of a rather rough hairball, which is not good for the tummy.

Further posting in Sept. 2003: Alan Solem had a two-part article on the medical relevance of mollusks which included the hazards of consuming large radulae. Radulae are relatively tough, so they do not digest easily, and many are designed for rasping on hard rocks. Thus, a bunch of limpet radulae in the stomach is sort of like having a hairball with rough edges in your tummy.

Large chitons probably pose similar hazards. I found a pile of empty shells once in the Bahamas, accompanied by the radulae, evidently discarded as inedible.

Dr. David Campbell



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