Leopard Slug Sex

It might not seem like the an 8 inch long leopard slug could put on an amazing sex show. After all, they can be real slimeballs. But actually, these hermaphroditic gastropod mollusks' sexual behavior is quite... well... beautiful.

video link:

The foreplay for the fertilization, which consists of a lot of licking and nibbling, can last up to 2.5 hours. That's about 793 days in slug time. And when it's all over with, both slugs (slowly) retreat to cold and damp hideaways in order to lay their respective sets of eggs.

If you're thinking about eating these monster slugs, please don't. If ingested, leopard slugs can cause a mean case of the meningitis. Evidence here: http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/health/HealthRepublish_969551.htm. An Australian man ate two on a college dare. It turns out they make your brain swell to the size of a swimming pool.

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Eat it, freshman.

See that hole in the above picture? As a descendant of aquatic ancestors, leopard slugs (like all land slugs... and snails) have adapted to breathing air by developing a hole on their side which expands and contracts to take in oxygen. The hole was formed as their prehistoric gills disappeared to make way for a fancy set of new, shiny lungs.

(Posted by Andrew on behalf of Katie Thompson, Lowly Intern)

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You guys have to get out more. P.Z.Myers had this video up a week ago. Only garnered a hundred comments.

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 29 Mar 2009 #permalink

Maybe you could elaborate on slug breathing. Many snails have an opening to the mantle cavity. The gills are usually (not always) in the mantle cavity. Pulmonate snails use the lining of the mantle cavity as a lung. Is it particularly convoluted and elaborated in slugs? I wonder how the expanding and contracting of the mantle opening is correlated with moving air in and out (maybe around in?) of the mantle cavity.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

Hey Blemie Bro's - Are you O.K? It's been quiet in here. I just hope all is well in your world/s. I would think April 1st is a religious holiday for you two. ;-p

By arachnophile (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

Yes all is well enough, but stupidly busy. to make matters worse, benny is in Vietnam for 2 weeks for no good reason and im super distracted with the high-fructose corn syrup of zooborns

Yoiks, those slugs are inventive.

what do these new england leopard slugs eat??

By Lisa Furey (not verified) on 07 Jul 2009 #permalink

My duplex has become some sort of sick and twisted breeding ground for these lovely fellows. it is strangely delicious to watch....thanks for telling me all about them. After there done doing the disgusting things only slugs can do they ingest the slime from which they were hanging which makes it even more amazing. if you're ever asked the question, yes, slugs do swallow ;)

By Emily Kern (not verified) on 23 Aug 2009 #permalink

Is it particularly convoluted and elaborated in slugs? I wonder how the expanding and contracting of the mantle opening is correlated with moving air in and out (maybe around in?) of the mantle cavity. thanks for telling me all about them. After there done doing the disgusting things only slugs can do they ingest the slime from which they were hanging which makes it even more amazing

contracting of the mantle opening is correlated with moving air in and out (maybe around in?) of the mantle cavity. thanks for telling me all about them. After there done doing the disgusting things only slugs can do they ingest the slime from which they were hanging which makes it even more amazing

i know no one cares about this, but i think ice age was definitely not a pixar film. it was some other animation lab which i think has about the same amount of talent as pixar's pinky.