Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lesson(s) of the day and some mollusk induced memories

My new suite is a semi-basement suite, in that you take a few steps below ground level to get to the front door. I have discovered that slugs like to reside on the walls of my front stoop... which got me to reminiscing.

I grew up on a ten-acre hobby farm, which happened to be rife with slugs, amongst other creatures. While other girls were grossed out by such creepy-crawlies, my sister and I were picking them up with our bare hands, burying them in our sandbox, and then wondering why they no longer moved when we dug them up again. I also have a rather foul memory of a friend playing hop-scotch in her bare feet... and landing right on one of those unfortunate creatures.

So, with all these fond memories brought back by the slimy critter on my doorstep, I decided to do a little googling about slugs, assuming there was a lesson of the day factoid or two to be found.

Turns out there are several...

While they are growing from little sluglets (scientific term, I swear!) into full grown slugs, these guys undergo torsion, which is a fancy word for 180 degree twisting of their body organs!

Wikipedia actually has a warning that precautions should be taken when eating raw slugs, as people have came down with meningitis as a result (just because I saw all your mouths watering after that first photo)

Slime is quite the lubrication during banana slug sex. Apparently some actually consume each other's slime during the "event", while others suspend themselves from places with their slime while getting a little slug love!

All slugs are born hermaphrodites-- however, for some, this doesn't last too long. During mating, the slug's corkscrew like penises often get, well, twisted together, and they have to engage in what is called apophallation, which is just a fancy name for chewing their penises off. They then live the rest of their lives as the fairer sex.
I was going to post a picture of slug sex, but I figured that may be a little much. So here's a picture of slugs in love instead.

And, in my eyes at least, slug is the animal name that most suits its beneficiary (is there any better word to describe a slug than slug? It just sounds squishy, slow, and slimy!)


Ant said...

That is fascinating! And that's the first picture of a slug that I think is mildly cute... :o)

Slugs freaked me out when a youngster, but a friend's sister apparently used to eat them when a kid (don't know if she contracted meningitis or not...) My mate would describe the sight of the goo running out from between her teeth - she would be doing it defiantly in front of her parents while they went mental at her...

(I seem to be quoting this particular friend a lot recently - toes dropping off, kneeling on hamsters, etc. He's a doctor if that explains anything...)

Airam said...

Slugs suspending themselves during sex?? Who knew they could be creative with sex!

Lin-Zed said...

I always thought slugs were sort of cute - slimy but safe...I always figured I could outrun them in a pinch. It's the wriggling, scuttling, unpredictable ones that give me the willies: spiders, cochroaches, any of the -pedes etc. That extends to mammals as well - I have a serious aversion to ferrets. Yuck.

LMizzle said...

Wow, biting off your own penis?! That's quite a skill to put on a resume!

iFreud said...

I was watching Jeopardy (one of my favorite shows, I am such a nerd!) and there was a category on Snails! Thanks to your post, I did very well, thank you!

I've got snails all over the place where I live... I think they are cool!

Eve said...

What? How do you get meningitis from them? Bacterial meningitis?

And isn't the internet amazing? I once was mildly curious about guppies and ended up watching guppies having sex. It was kind of weird.

Zelda said...

even with the sorta cute photo, slugs are pretty gross. fascinating, but gross. bleh.

Princess Pointful said...

Ant- Wow. That is the ultimate in defiance. Slamming your bedroom door has nothing on chomping slugs!

Airam- Apparently slugs are anything but in the bedroom ;)

Lin-zed- Agreed. The only have one big leg, whereas spiders have eight... therefore infinitely more creepy.

Lmizzle- Only if you weren't competing with other slugs for the job!

iFreud- Yes! Learning is fun! And snails are cute.

Eve- Haha... that would be quite the process... suddenly becoming aware that you are watching guppy porn.

Zelda- It is sometimes the creepy things that are most fascinating, I find!