The anterior parts of the slugs swell and roll slightly over to the left. Afterwards leopard slugs may lay up to eggs, from which tiny, pale white babies emerge. This circling may serve to assess whether the other is ready to mate; the speed of circling generally decreases as courtship progresses. Mating[ edit ] Mating refers to the phase of sperm transfer and lasts from the beginning of penis eversion to the moment the genitalia lose contact with the other slug. Twisting their slimy bodies together, the large slugs dangle upside down from a glittering rope of mucus, slowly rotating. Sperm transfer can be simultaneously reciprocal or unilateral, and external as in Deroceras or internal as in Ariolimax. The mucus may reveal information on body size or parasite infection, giving an insight into fecundity.
A replacement penis does not grow back. It is not yet known whether tail waving is a visual cue or whether it wafts chemical attractants in the direction of the follower. The follower keeps very close to the leader once they are in proximity. Apophallation may be made necessary in order for separation to occur by the partner tightly gripping the penis via a special muscle of the female reproductive tract. In the case where one penis is chewed off, this is usually done by the other slug. Received sperm is either digested or used for the fertilisation of eggs. The anterior parts of the slugs swell and roll slightly over to the left. This can lead to a co-evolutionary cycle in which the amount of sperm digested and male allocation both increase until eventually, male and female gametes are equally invested in. External sperm transfer[ edit ] Aerial mating with intertwined penises and external sperm transfer in Limax maximus. Welcome to the strange, sticky and sensational world of slug sex. As a result, these individuals can no longer mate, and are only able to reproduce uniparentally. Afterwards leopard slugs may lay up to eggs, from which tiny, pale white babies emerge. The mucus may reveal information on body size or parasite infection, giving an insight into fecundity. Using mucus trails to find a mate involves the discrimination between conspecific and heterospecific trails. By Michelle Douglass 14 January A leopard slug's huge blue-tinted penis and upside-down reproductive acrobatics make for a colourful sex life. These secretions, like those of the sarcobelum during courtship, have several possible functions including acting as an allohormone which manipulates the partner to increase chances of paternity. They separate and crawl away from each other as soon as their genitals are untangled. In these slugs, apophallation is only an occasional occurrence which follows a period of struggle and pulling by the owner. Simultaneous reciprocal mating versus unilateral mating[ edit ] In simultaneous reciprocal mating, both slugs act as males and females at the same time. In the programme Dr Rowson says: Mate location is also greatly mediated by airborne chemicals. Finding a mate[ edit ] Deroceras panormitanum leaving behind a mucus trail. It is also during courtship that the ejaculate is prepared; sperm flows from storage into the penis and, in some species, is assembled into packages such as spermatophores. Apophallation After sperm transfer a process termed apophallation , or penis amputation, may take place. Secretions, presumably from the glandular part of the penis wall, are probably transferred by the sarcobela during this mutual stroking. Entwinement is allowed by the curvature present in slug penises; close entwinement aids successful sperm exchange, which occurs at the peak of penis eversion.
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