Scientists at Harper Adams University are implanting slugs with tracking devices in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the important crop pests.
The researchers are hoping to prove a theory that, rather than being evenly distributed across fields, slug populations are focused in patches. Knowing this would help improve control strategies.
The slugs are anaesthetised before a small cut is made in the skin and the tracker, which is smaller than a grain of rice, is inserted. Once released, the slugs can be tracked, even underground, using a device which looks similar to a metal detector.
Funding for this study has come from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), which estimates that slugs can cause £100m of damage to UK crops if they aren’t properly controlled.
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