Are the alien orange hermaphrodites taking over?

Or have they always been among us?

Even the experts aren’t sure.

After Lisa Bendall and her daughter spotted some unusually coloured slugs on an Etobicoke sidewalk while walking to school one day, they launched an investigation that has the world of amateur and professional malacologists scratching their heads.

“We were in awe,” says Bendall, a freelance writer, of the dark pumpkin-coloured things, which are four inches long when extended. But she and 10-year-old Emily didn’t realize how rare these slugs actually are.

They appear to be a species native to Europe, one that has never been reported in Ontario before.

If the Etobicoke creatures do turn out to be of European descent, it will likely remain a mystery whether they’re newly arrived or have been here undetected for a long time.