Effects of climate change on terrestrial slugs and their predators

  1. Heba-T-Alla El-Danasoury
Supervised by:
  1. Javier Iglesias Piñeiro Director

Defence university: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Year of defence: 2017

  1. José Castillejo Murillo Chair
  2. María J. Servia Secretary
  3. Marta González Warleta Committee member
  1. Department of Zoology, Genetics and Physical Anthropology

Type: Thesis


The main objective of this PhD work is to explore potential changes in the feeding behaviour of the pest slug Deroceras reticulatum, as well as in the behaviours of some of their most important natural enemies, under climatic conditions predicted for Galicia by the last third of the century. The studied natural enemies were the carabid beetles Harpalus rufipes and Poecilus cupreus, and the slug parasitic nematode Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita. In order to achieve this general objective, different experiments were performed under laboratory controlled conditions and under semi-natural conditions. Overall, from the obtained results it should be expected that both the pest slug D. reticulatum and its natural enemies H. rufipes and P. hermaphrodita will be affected by predicted conditions of climate. Specifically, it should be expected a higher potential of D. reticulatum populations for crop damaging, and an enhanced performance of H. rufipes and P. hermaphrodita as biological control agents of D. reticulatum. In turn, these findings emphasize the importance of taking into account natural enemies and ecological interactions when modelling the response of species to climate change.