The shugapoda or shugapods, more commonly known as gummi slug are part of the phylum Mollusca, in the Animalia kingdom. The shugapoda are a very rare classification of Mollusca with an estimate population of 700 with the first recorded sighting on October 13 1913 by entomologist Barry Green. Found only in the Amazon Forest located in Brazil. Without a shell for protection, the gummi slugs mucus is key to its survival. The body is encased in a thick layer of mucus that is excreted from all of its pores to protect itself, which is different from the mucus it leaves behind. The mucus that is excreted from the gummi slugs foot is collected for its naturally sweet taste during its mating season. This mucus also allows the slugs to climb up trees without falling. The gummi slugs makes home high in the treetops where they can stay moist with the constant waterfall from leaves.
The gummi slugs body consist of its sensory antennas which allows the slugs to sense its surroundings and see. The head is followed by the mantle located on top of the body and is more vibrant than the rest of the body. The rest of the body that follows is referred to as the tail. The underside of the gummi slug is referred to as the foot and is where the second type of mucus is excreted. The mucus excreted from the foot is watery and allows the slug to retrace its steps and find mates.
The gummi slugs come in a variety of pastel rainbow hues ranging from yellow to purple. There is no distinguishable difference between the female and male gummi slugs appearance. The color of the gummi slugs deepens to vivid colors during mating season, making them more susceptible to predators.
Researchers have studied the mating patterns of the gummi slug but have been unable to successful breed them in captivity.
The natural predator of the gummi slug are peamont hawks. Peamont hawks are another rare species located only in the Amazon Forest.
The native tribe Awa from the Amazon forest collect the gummi slug during their mating season of September and October and eat the thin mucus that is excreted from the gummi slugs foot. The Awa tribe will start collecting the gummi slug once their colors deepen signifying mating season.