Marine slug uses a "one-off" penis for mating


15/02/2013

Scientists surprised by the unique ability of sea slug Chromodoris reticulata rid of reproductive organ, and then grow a new one for use in the next mating.

Japanese researchers believe that this nudibranch is the only representative of the fauna that can be using "single-sex organ" to copulate again and again.

Information scientists were published in Biology Letters.

Sea slugs differ quite intricate sex life: almost all nudibranchs are considered bisexual or simultaneous hermaphrodites, that is, having both male and female sexual organs, they can use them at the same time.

The research team observed the sea slugs that were collected for the study from the Pacific coast of Japan on the coral reefs.

Curator of marine invertebrates of the National Museums Northern Ireland, Professor Bernard Picton said that the two slug during copulation takes place in opposite directions relative to each other and share their sperm, putting reproductive organ in a woman’s opening partner.

The duration of sexual intercourse slugs is a few seconds, and sometimes a few minutes. Upon its completion, clams get rid of their penises.

What was a surprise to scientists, when watching the process, they found that even after 24 hours at sea animals grow is the new men’s genitals, and clams were again ready to copulate.

"I’ve never seen anything like it," - said Professor Picton, struck the phenomenon.

In the more detailed study of the structure of the penis slug was found that most of it is inside the body is curled in a helix, and that is separated only after mating outer fragment.

It was also observed that the small cover member clam processes. The researchers suggest that their purpose is to remove the sperm of previous partner.

It should be noted that sea slugs are not the only representatives of the animal world, in which the reproductive organ is removed after mating.

This ability is also peculiar to males Spider Web Spiders, snails and slugs shore kind Ariolimax, living on land.

However, scientists believe that sea slugs Chromodoris reticulata - are the only living creatures that regeneration occurs after copulation the penis.


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