I hadn’t even heard of a Banana Slug until I came across this article by Cassandra Willyard which elaborates on the slimy little creatures obscure sex habits.
A few weeks ago we brought you an article about how Nephilengys malabarensis spider snapped off its own penis during intercourse in order to become a better lover and a better fighter and now we are bringing you another bizarre tale from the animal kingdom’s sex watch corner, the slugs that chew their partner’s penises off.
Apparently the Banana Slugs are hermaphrodites (news to me) so theoretically, they should all have penises, however, in the early 1900s, zoology professor Harold Heath, from Stanford University noticed that approximately 5% of adult Banana slugs being studied were missing that all important appendage or there was just a tiny, stumpy growth in its place.
Something else I found out whilst reading this article is that Banana Slugs penis when erect, can often be the same length as the slug itself, that is between 6 and 8icnhes long. The penis also emerges from the genital pore which is on the head. Yes, the Banana Slug’s penis actually comes out of its head – WTF!!!
Health was utterly intrigued by the fact that several Banana Slugs seemed to have been castrated and went on a fact finding mission. Ah to have the life of a zoologist!
Health observed the mating rituals of the Banana Slugs in his lab and in the wild and he noticed that they start by biting each other a couple of times, then they curl around one another (not entirely grossed out yet, well you soon will be) then they each insert their penises into one another. Sometimes one slug provides the sperm and the other receives it and in other cases they play sperm swapsies! Then they part ways and go back to slugging around…Most of the time.
On a couple of occasions Heath noticed that once the slugs had finished copulating, the slugs sometimes started chewing “vigorously” on the other slugs penis, so much so, that after a few minutes that poor slugs penis had been completely amputated!
This penis amputation has even been given a scientific name, it is called apophallation, but why they do it is still a mystery to researchers.
Heath postulated that it might have been the slugs reaction to a human voyeur, or that it might be a means of ensuring that the inseminated slug doesn’t think about doing sperm swapsies with any other Banana Slugs on the block, but the truth of it is that they still don’t know exactly why!!
The Weird World of Banana Slug Sex (Via Last Word On Nothing)