The lowly banana slug managed to get its day in the limelight with a much ballyhooed bill that would have declared it the state mollusk, but Gov. George Deukmejian sent it back beneath its rock.

Deukmejian vetoed the bill Monday, saying the slugs are not indigenous to California and are not "representative of the international reputation that California enjoys.""I think the governor has thoughtlessly missed the point on this one," said a crestfallen Assemblyman Byron Sher, D-Palo Alto, author of the bill.

"Four of the five banana slug species are found only in California," Sher said. "As for banana slugs' representative qualities, we have repeatedly shown that these animals are an excellent example of the unique diversity of California's wildlife."

The bill was inspired by a Camp Fire troop studying how state government works. The troop received quite a civics lesson, as the bill died and was resurrected several times before finally slithering to the governor's desk.

As for the slugs themselves, they will have to take solace in the fact that they retain some fame - the name for the athletic teams at the University of California at Santa Cruz is the "Banana Slugs."