So, I was just walking the dogs in the forest minding my own business when I saw these two kids gettin’ it on in a tree stump.
I mean seriously, get a room! Right?
So last year, I totally grossed out my readers with all sorts of cool banana slug facts and photos. I really shouldn't disappoint you now especially when the occasion arises to teach you important facts about the birds and the bees and the slugs in the trees.
So ya'll remember that slugs are hermaphrodites, right? They are both male and female. They can act as both male and female and can even mate with themselves.
The Latin name dolichophallus, which means giant penis, is fitting because a slug's penis is almost as large as its body. What's even more interesting: the penis literally emerges from its head! Wait! Huh? It sort of makes me wonder where the term "dickhead" came from. But I digress.
Banana slugs begin their mating ritual with a few vicious love nips. They mate on a slick layer of slime which they produce before mating begins. They even eat each other's slime.
Sometimes, but not always, during slug sex, both slugs will bite off each other's penises. This process, called apophallation, is somewhat of a mystery. Some theories say it's because the penis gets stuck. Some say it's because they're being observed by humans and want to unstick faster. Some say it represents a sort of sperm competition, or way of ensuring that the slug you just mated with isn't going to mate with another--ever again--as the penis never grows back.
But all of this is just an educated guess. It's not like we can ask the poor dudes, who are now just ladies post-apophallation. Now there's a term I'd never thought I'd write.
Wow. Nature is cruel, man.
Needless to say, I left way before they began copulating. I don't want any slug's junk getting cut off due to my own morbid curiosity.
I got morals. They may be low, but I got 'em.
It seems like mating with one's self might lessen the potential of having your male bits eaten... Just saying....
-Dr. Liz, who is creeped out and now knows WAY more about banana slug mating than a person should ever have to.... 😉
Oh, the things we learn from our blog list:)
Woos - Ciara and Lightning
Wow! And they're a school mascot?? What does that say about the students at UCSC???