Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Can't Give You Anything But Love

…Or at least the aftermath of love amongst sea slugs.

Imagine my joy when, stopping by the Invertebrate House this weekend with Annie and a visiting friend, I saw that the tank housing tube anemones was also the home of a whole bunch of little stowaway sea slugs!

I don’t think the sea slugs were put in the aquarium deliberately, but, as far as I was concerned, they were the main attraction.

We also saw these little spirals lining the glass of the tank, and I was fairly certain that they were the egg ribbons laid by these guys.

I can say “guys” because sea slugs are simultaneous hermaphrodites—that is, each individual is both male and female all the time. Most sea slugs, however, still mate with other sea slugs to produce young—and often they don’t just mate in pairs but will form little orgiastic daisy chains, mating in the male and female position at once. (This has been known to severely perturb researchers, who have peevishly complained that they can’t always tell which slug is doing what.)

Once the slugs have had their fun, they lay their egg ribbons, sometimes in this lovely spiral pattern. -By the way, if you think I’m the only person sufficiently obsessed with nudibranchs (aka sea slugs) to be attentive to their egg-laying, check out this note posted on the Sea Slug Forum, complete with photos, discussing whether sea slugs always lay eggs in a counter-clockwise direction.

And that’s all I can give you.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

1 comment:

Anca said...

That's terrific! I do want to know whether it's clockwise or counter-clockwise, and will the new generation be able to know what that means since clocks are digital now?

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