Mount Kaputar famous indigenous resident, the Kaputar Pink Slug (Triboniophorus aff. graeffei or Triboniophorus sp. nov. “Kaputar”) is only found on the slopes of an extinct volcano in the Mount Kaputar National Park.
When a bushfire roared through its limited habitat in late 2019, it was feared that the fluorescent pink slug would have been wiped out. Then celebration, after some rain, the slug were drawn out of their hiding, although it is estimated that about 90 per cent of the slug population was wiped out by the fires.
These giant pink slugs live in beds of red eucalyptus leaves fallen from the trees and emerge from the leaf litter at night to feed on algae and mosses. Life will be difficult with much of their food sources burnt by the fires.
The pink slugs grow to about 20 cm in length, with a width of about 4-6 cm. They are related to the red triangle slug, which is also found on Mount Kaputar.
At 1,500 metres above sea level, the extinct volcano of Mount Kaputar National Park is home to a number of unique species including the Kaputar hairy snail and the Kaputar cannibal snail.
A 2007–2014 field survey in Mount Kaputar National Park, identified a native land snail fauna of 24 species (seven families), with nine species not found anywhere else. There could be a possibility of more to be discovered, if they have not been wiped out by bush fires and the changing climate conditions.
Forged by volcanic activity some 17 million years ago, Mount Kaputar National Park has a small 10 square kilometre area that remains lush and wet, providing a unique ecosystem and sanctuary to a number of creatures.
Photos © Ian Burns
- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Mollusca
- Class: Gastropoda
- Subclass: Heterobranchia
- Superorder: Eupulmonata
- Order: Stylommatophora
- Infraorder: Succineoidei
- Superfamily: Athoracophoroidea
- Family: Athoracophoridae
- Subfamily: Aneitinae
- Genus: Triboniophorus
- Species: Triboniophorus sp. nov. ‘Kaputar’
- Binomial name: Triboniophorus sp. nov. ‘Kaputar’
- Park rangers feared the iconic neon pink Mount Kaputar slugs were wiped out by bushfires — then it rained, 29 Jan 2020; ABC News
- Survey of the land snail fauna (Gastropoda: Pulmonata) of Mount Kaputar National Park in northern inland New South Wales, Australia, including a description of the listing of Australia’s first legally recognised endangered land snail community; Michael J. Murphy & Michael Shea; Pages 51-64 | Published online: 21 Oct 2014