Dianthus “Flower of the Gods” harbors kinky slugs.    More weird sexual antics from our slimy brethren and sisteren

Went slug hunting today… mild mannered student Carmen turns into a massacre minded murderer. The kids collected the slugs and experimented with cutting them in ½ (the head section lives for between one-two minuets) letting them burn on the pavement, and grinding them underfoot.

I used the opportunity to teach about simultaneous hermaphrodites. (Each slug is both male and female.) Although slugs are hermaphroditic, they mate with themselves only if no other slugs are around. Given a choice, they seek partners with whom to trade genetic material. More fun than baseball cards!

The exchange of sperm is preceded by elaborate courtship rituals, which are species specific. This prevents interspecies breeding; it’s bad enough that they are hermaphrodites with making them cross breeds too!

  Great grey garden slugs, copulate in midair, suspended by stretchy strands of mucus up to 17 3/4 inches long. Slugs have disproportionately large sex organs. The great grey garden slug’s organ is nearly half its total body length.

For a fabulous video see the always marvelous David Attenborough on the leopard slug. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKPBCXdR6yo   

The scientific name of one banana slug species: dolichophallus — Latin for “long penis.”

Too bad the market for slug porn is soft…and slimy.

Banana slugs  stimulate each other for several hours. Their already enormous genital areas swell, penetration takes place and each slug releases and receives sperm.

Now the slugs must disengage — a challenge for two animals so amply endowed and covered in sticky mucus. After long bouts of writhing and pulling, the pair may resort to … apophallation…. this means that one slug gnaws off the member of the other.

Make that S & M slug porn.

The apophallated slug, cannot regrow his parts and thus becomes 100% female. And so the list of what separates humans from other animals keeps shrinking…. now it turns out we didn’t even invent sex change operations

The slugs reside neath the Dianthus. The name Dianthus is from the Greek words dios (“god”) and anthos (“flower”). Dianthus is a genus which includes carnations (D. caryophyllus), sweet williams (D. barbatus) and pinks (D. plumarius and related species.)

In the 14th century,the word pink meant “to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern” (maybe from German “pinken” = to peck). (As in pinking shears:) Pinks Dianthus plumarius  was named “pink”because it has a ruffled edge.  And… it happens to be pink. So that is how the color pink got it’s name.

A helpful mnemonic for biology students, Kings Play Chess On Fine Grained Sand

Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.

Inserted  pictures                         ii.      Dianthus

                                                         iii.      an amazing transparent green snail I found in Puerto Rico it’s black stalk eyes vanish when retracted

                                                          iv.      and…for no particular reason, Taking cell samples to determine if chytrid fungus is present in Coquies (frogs) in the upper altitude of  Las Casas in Puerto Rico

The Amphibian Chytrid Fungus was discovered  in the late 1990′s and is the primary cause of amphibian population decline and extinction in Latin America, Australia and North America.  Chytrid fungus invades the thin, permeable skin of amphibians, interrupting their ability to regulate the movement of water and oxygen through their skin.