These slugs, known by scientists as Arion subfuscus and found across Europe and the northeastern US, have previously been studied by scientists because their unusual sticky mucus has several potential applications-especially when it comes to creating a glue than can stick to wet or dynamic surfaces.
For decades, scientists have attempted to invent an adhesive which can fix tears in bodily tissues, which are often covered in blood.
Sticky slug mucus has been used to create a glue that can stop internal bleeding by binding biological tissues together-even when they are wet.
Now researchers at Imperial College London and scientists in the USA have created a super-strong glue which is a tough as cartilage, but which can cling internal organs.
When threatened by a predator, Dusky Arion slugs secrete a mucus that glues it in place, meaning the gastropods can not be pried away from the surface on which they're crawling.
The approach differs from other glue technology.
"Basically we can solve all those issues associated with previous adhesives", said Jianyu Li, first author of the research from Harvard University. This finding further demonstrates the strength of the adhesion.
If there are two words in the English language likely to trigger a curl of the lip, "slug mucus" would be towards the top of the list.
Slug slime has inspired scientists to develop a medical super-glue that can seal wounds in damaged organs.
The glues were found not only to stick to pig skin but also cartilage, heart, artery and liver tissues.
Professor Dave Mooney added: "The key feature of our material is the combination of a very strong adhesive force and the ability to transfer and dissipate stress, which have historically not been integrated into a single adhesive".
Researchers say their "next generation" adhesive has several potential medical applications.
Researchers say they have developed tough, flexible glues created to help patch up wounds, drawing on lessons learned from the creatures' sticky goo.
The high-performance material could be used as a patch that can be cut to desired sizes and applied to tissue surfaces or as an injectable solution for deeper injuries. Its capacity for sticking to wet surfaces means it could also be used to attach medical devices to tissues within the body. "We can make these adhesives out of biodegradable materials, so they decompose once they've served their goal", Adam Celiz, study co-author, said.
"We could even combine this technology with soft robotics to make sticky robots, or with pharmaceuticals to make a new vehicle for drug delivery".
Professor Donald Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in the United States, said: "Nature has frequently already found elegant solutions to common problems; it's a matter of knowing where to look and recognising a good idea when you see one".