Scientists discover sea slug with “disposable penis”
If you haven’t put much thought into the genitalia of sea slugs, maybe now’s the time to start.
A sea slug that is able to detach, re-grow and then re-use its penis has surprised scientists. Japanese researchers observed the bizarre mating behaviour in a species called Chromodoris reticulata, which is found in the Pacific Ocean. They believe this is the first creature known that can repeatedly copulate with what they describe as a “disposable penis”. […]
The Japanese team observed sea slugs that they had collected from shallow coral reefs around Japan. They saw the animals mate 31 times. The act took between a few seconds and a few minutes, after which the creatures would push away and shed their penises, leaving them on the floor of the tank.
However, the researchers were surprised to discover that just 24-hours later, the sea slugs had regenerated their male organs and were able to mate again. Closer examination of the animals’ anatomy revealed that the sea slugs had a large part of their penis coiled up in a spiral inside their bodies, which they would then use to replenish their missing part.
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