TRAIL BLAZER: CQUniversity student David Inskip wants your slugs and snails to test for rat lung worm
TRAIL BLAZER: CQUniversity student David Inskip wants your slugs and snails to test for rat lung worm CONTRIBUTED

University student needs your slugs and snails to save brain

CQUNIVERSITY student David Inskip has slugs on the brain, and he wants any strays you may have in your backyard.

The third-year pathology student is collecting slugs and snails from around the region to test for the rat lung worm.

The worm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, is known to cause eosinophilic meningitis in humans, a condition where the worm larvae crawl around in the brain.

There have been a number of cases in Brisbane and the Gold Coast; but David is curious to see how close to CQ the worm has spread.

"But we do not yet know if the parasite's range has extended up into Central Queensland," he said.

"We are calling for people to submit slugs and snails they find in their garden or anywhere else."

David explained the rat lung worm and its larvae are involved in a life cycle relationship with rats, slugs and snails, since they are known to eat the faecal matter of rats.

A marked box will be available for depositing specimens in the campus reception office, at the main entrance to the commercial area of the CQUniversity Rockhampton North campus.

Those providing snails or slugs are asked to enclose them in separate, sealed containers. More than one in each container may end in contamination.

5 slimy facts about slugs

  1. A slug is a special kind of mollusc, called a gastropod
  2. Gastropod means 'stomach foot'
  3. They are related to oysters, clams and octopi
  4. Slugs have a single lung
  5. They don't have bones, teeth or tongues
  6. (lakesidenaturecentre.org)