Slug Info (calling all gardeners)
Date: Mon, 8 May 95 19:25:24 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Slug Info (calling all gardeners)
[Don't miss the summary... -psl]
Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Wendell Craig Baker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: email@example.com (Anne Threston)
Now that it's garden season, here's an interesting tidbit from
the _Field Guide to the Slug_.
Although slugs are hermaphroditic, each animal equipped with both male and
female reproductive organs, they mate with themselves only if no other slugs
are around. Given a choice, they seek partners with whom to trade genetic
material, a move that, by favoring the passage of chromosomes from both
parents to the offspring, nurtures a healthier pool of slug genes. The
actual exchange of sperm is preceeded by an elaborate courtship ritual,
which supposedly reduces the chance of two individuals of separate species
mating and giving rise to hybrids.
During courtship, two slugs will circle each other ... with both partners
engaged in ritualized bouts of lunging, nipping, and sideswiping with their
tails. The two slugs may also display their disproportionately large sex
organs. The great grey garden slug's penis is nearly half its total body
length. In fact, penis size is reflected in the scientific name of one
banana slug species: dolichophallus -- Latin for "long penis".
The sight of a courting pair of slugs majestically circling one another
"... while they solemnly wave their oversized penises overhead puts the
most improbably athletic couples of Pompeii and Khajuraho into a more
appropriate and severely diminished perspective," note researchers C. David
Rollo and William G. Wellington. "Athletic" is an even more appropriate
adjective for great grey garden slugs, which are able to copulate in midair,
suspended by stretchy strands of mucus up to 17 3/4 inches long.
As courtship progresses, a banana slug pair intertwines ... stimulating each
other for several more hours. Their genital areas swell as the pair move
even closer together. Penetration takes place, then each slug alternately
releases and receives sperm.
Now the slugs must disengage -- a challenge for two animals so amply endowed
and thoroughly covered in sticky mucus. After long bouts of writhing and
pulling, the pair may resort to ... apophallation. Translated, this means
that one slug gnaws off the penis of the other.
Is there an advantage to such odd behavior? Yes, according to Adrian
Forsyth, author of _A Natural History of Sex_. The apophallated slug, says
Forsyth, "cannot regrow his penis and is now obligated to be a female and
forced to offer eggs." ... In other animal species, gigantism has been a
precursor to extinction. Only by submitting to the shears can banana slugs
maintain their inordinate organs.
So there we have it. The slug. Well hung, can fuck for hours suspended by
a rope of snot, all to get his dick chewed off in the end. There's a moral
in there somewhere...
© 1995 Peter Langston