Perilous Procreation

slugs_body_180x240I’m stealing Andrew’s post idea entirely, and I am not ashamed of this since it is such a brilliant extract, explaining the term “bungee humping”.

It’s a remarkable piece about the mating practices of Tiger slugs (I got the picture on the right from here), from an article in the Independent back in 1999:

When the striped tiger slug finds a mate the two of them ascend a vertical face – such as a tree trunk – and find a perch. Both then create a strand of mucus from which they dangle in mid air – a molluscan bungee rope, as it were. They then entwine and display bright blue sex organs. Now comes the tricky bit. Tiger slugs are what are known as true hermaphrodites – they exhibit male and female sexual characteristics at the same time (rather than consecutively, as with the field slug).

Each tiger slug is extremely keen to pass on its sperm, but neither wants the aggravation of bearing the eggs. So each slug, suspended on their bungee, is furiously trying to fertilise the other. When one of them successfully offloads its sperm it then attempts to prevent the other from doing the same by biting off its sex organ.


Found some images here, if you can bear to look. [Update: Strangely beautiful video here, although no mentioning of the, er, biting… – thanks Anthony!]

Andrew’s comment: “Suddenly seems less daunting.” 🙂


Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Perilous Procreation

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Perilous Procreation at Asymptotia --

  2. Andrew says:

    Ooh pictures. Shame the videos don’t work. Well, kinda.

  3. Pingback: Tiger slug sex « wongaBlog

  4. Clifford says:

    Thanks Anthony! Andrew… you will like the video I think. It is truly remarkable!


  5. When I was still living in Providence, the slugs (gray and as big as your longest finger) caused serious depredation in my little garden, so I usually disposed of them as rapidly and effectively as possible. But one night I went out and found two hanging from the sloping trunk of a Norway maple, doing their mating thing, and the sight was so beautiful, with the perlescent sheens and shimmerings, that I stood there transfixed, and spared them.

  6. Clifford says:

    Yes… definitely wrong to send something off into the hereafter if it is in the middle of enjoying the hereandnow in that way.

    What I’m finding disturbing right now is the idea that I might brush into such a pair and end up with them on my head or in my hat when I’m wandering under low hanging branches late at night. Got to add a mucus bungee to the list of things to remember, along with giant spider webs an so forth. Excellent.