Nerd Culture

Scientists Discover Sea Slug That Sheds Its Penis After Sex. Romantic.

In the spirit of love and loss, we bring you the Chromodoris reticulata.

After studying the small slug that lives in warms waters in Southeast Asia, Japanese biologists recently concluded that the red and white animal loves with great force -- and then loses its penis before growing a new one.

"No other animal is known to repeatedly copulate using such 'disposable penes'," the Biologists write in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters. (Yeah, they wrote penes. Go ahead and giggle.)

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The red-and-white-slug is a hermaphrodite (possessing both male and female sexual organs), and can "unroll" a coiled, compressed, and brand new penis out of its side within 24-hours of having sex with another slug.

Because you know we're as perplexed as we are, the details are these: - The hermaphrodites perform both roles during sex -- they both give sperm to a mating partner while receiving sperm that's stored for insemination. - Slug sex lasts anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. - And when it's all over, the slugs discard their penes (described as "a thread-like organ that it projects from its side") into their partners' vaginas.

The scientists note that the animal is not the only one in the kingdom to rid itself of a body part in a process called autotomy -- geckos lose their tales, octopi lose their arms, species of mice can lose their skin, bees lose their stingers -- but no other animal is as notably calm or willing to part with its package.

Happy Valentine's Day.

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton