Thursday, July 12, 2007
I can't believe I've been writing this blog for almost a week and no one has asked me about my fascination with slugs mating. Apparently sex only sells so far. Would a web page titled "The Mating Life of the Ariolimax columbianus" get any hits? Oh well. It's my blog, so here goes.
A common rule in nature is that if it’s smaller than you, eat it; if it’s bigger than you,you run from it; and if it’s the same size as you,you mate with it. That in part explains the behavior of a sea slug, a nudibranch (Navanax inermis) that will try to eat each other, and if they fail at that, they mate. Imagine the after mating conversation. One lights a cigarette, inhales deeply and says: “Hope you didn’t take my trying to eat you personally."
The most common slug around here is the banana slug, Ariolimax columbianus. It's closely related to Ariolimax dolichophallus which translates to a slug with a big--how shall I put this--a big Male Organ, an MO for short, an MO that can swell to lengths longer than their body. They’re also related Ariolimax californicus brachyphallus which translates to a slug from California with a small MO. Take that California!
Speaking of large MOs, a starling’s sex organs weight 1,500 times as much during mating season as they do the rest of the year.
But I digress. Back to the mating habits of slugs. Slugs take their time doing just about everything, even mating. They take hours to mate, sometimes days. Before you start to get jealous, I should mention that they get so into the act that to uncouple they sometimes need to gnaw off their large MOs. Their large MOs? As in both of them have MOs? Yeah. They're hermaphrodites (i.e. they have both sex organs). Good thing, otherwise you can imagine the couple counseling they'd need after one of them gnawed off the other's MO.
In red states? Well. I'm sure slug sex isn't allowed in red states.
Maybe sometime I'll write about why it takes a minimum of three whales to mate.
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