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Monarch Dragon

Hover Over for Description

Release Date

September 25, 2016

Elemental Affinity

Earth

Morphology

Western

Base Rarity

Common

BSA

None

Habitat

Desert
Forest
Jungle

Color

Light grey, orange ()
Dark grey, orange ()

Nicknames

None

Spriters

Infinis

Monarch Dragons were released on September 25, 2016, alongside Diamondwing Dragons.

Official Dragon DescriptionsEdit

EggEdit

“This egg is buried in leaf litter.”

HatchlingEdit

“Aww… It’s a cute baby dragon. It has a voracious appetite.”

Mature HatchlingEdit

“Aww… It’s a cute baby dragon. It has a voracious appetite.
And look! It has grown wings! It must be close to maturing.”

AdultEdit

“Monarch Dragons feed on large waterfowl, supplementing with a diet of eggs and fish as needed. Driven by the arrival of cold weather and the need to follow their prey, Monarchs are themselves migratory, leaving the forests in early fall and heading to the warmer climates of deserts and jungles. These migrations are a sight to see, as along the way smaller groups join with one another to form a single large group that can blot out the sunlight as they fly over. Until they reach their destination, they only land for short periods of time to rest. Monarchs spread out across the land at the end of their journey, breaking up once more into their small family groups until the time comes to return to the forest.”

Sprite Artist(s)Edit

  • Infinis (All)

SpritesEdit

Series Egg Hatchling Mature Hatchling Adult
Female
Male

Egg SequenceEdit

Stage 0 Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Dead

Encyclopedia EntryEdit

Show/Hide Information

There are no notes available for this breed. Check back later; new information will be added periodically.

Additional InformationEdit

“ So, at no point are monarchs fluffy, not even the hatchies. XD;
The male’s white spots are lighter than the female’s.
The male has the same dark points the female does (dark muzzle, horns, feet, tail), but they’re less obvious because his whole body is darker.

Caligenes are based on a specific species of death’s head hawkmoth (Acherontia lachesis).
I don’t know if you want to count drakes in this, but morphodrakes and t hawk drakes are also based on insects (peleides blue morpho butterfly and tarantula hawk wasp, respectively). “ The frill at the ends of monarch tails are just little frills, no relation to oak (or any other tree) leaves. o3o

Start a Discussion Discussions about Monarch Dragon

  • September Release 2016

    13 messages

    • MyHomeGirlLapisLazuli wrote: you cant?? Yeah, eggs can’t be frozen. Only hatchlings can be frozen. 2016-10-02T14:42:44Z
    • omg sorry i got confused 2016-10-02T19:07:11Z

The Incredible Phasmid Egg

Phasmids, commonly called stick insects, are carnivorous insects that uncannily resemble twigs or dead leaves. They range in size from tiny half-inch splinters to mighty half-meter walking tree branches, using their amazing camouflage to hide from predators and stalk their insect prey. But phasmids have one more trick up their sleeve.

Biologists L. Hughes and M. Westbory, writing in Functional Ecology, describe the amazing, or rather amazingly unremarkable, appearance of stick insect eggs. They vary by species, but some phasmid eggs look exactly like seeds. This poses a conundrum: why would an animal that looks so inconspicuous have eggs that resemble a tasty snack?

As Hughes and Westbory explain, for stick insects that leave their eggs on the leaf litter, the eggs are intentionally attractive. Eggs of these species have an unusual structure called a capitula, a lumpy appendage stuck to the end of the egg. Its function was a mystery until Hughes and Westbory compared the eggs to actual seeds, some of which have their own appendage called an elaiosome.

A collection of seed-like phasmid eggs (viaWikimedia Commons)

The elaiosome is filled with fat, with one main purpose: to attract ants. The ants take the seeds with elaiosomes back to their nests and bury them. Fooled by the capitula, they do the same with phasmid eggs. The buried eggs gain protection from parasitic wasps. Baby stick bugs then hatch safely beneath a couple centimeters of soil. The whole system is a great example of convergent evolution, when two completely unrelated organisms, an insect and a plant, independently evolve similar adaptations.

In fact, the resemblance between seed-mimicking eggs and actual seeds might even be more complex. Many plant seeds are irresistible food for birds. The birds eat the seeds, which survive digestion and then germinate in the bird’s feces. The otherwise immobile plant uses the bird to disperse its offspring. Entomologist Matan Shelomi, writing in the Journal of Orthoptera Research, decided to test if this strategy applied to phasmid eggs by feeding them to chickens and quails. Many phasmid eggs are coated in a tough material called calcium oxalate. The coating is probably mostly defensive, but it also requires strong acid—like that you’d fine in a vertebrate stomach—to break down. Alas, while the birds ate the eggs with gusto, the eggs did not survive being digested.

Shelomi pointed out, however, that he only tested two species of bird and a few different phasmids. He hypothesized that different combinations might provide different results. Sure enough, in 2017, a quartet of Japanese researchers fed eggs to a known phasmid predator, the Brown-eared Bulbul. A few of the eggs survived and hatched, proof that birds are indeed capable of dispersing phasmid eggs.

With snow already on the ground in some areas and the cold winds of winter starting to blow in others, you may be wondering what your beautiful summertime butterfly visitors are up to right now. While most people are familiar with the amazing long migration of monarchs, flying south for the winter isn’t the only option that butterflies have. In fact, many butterflies can and do remain in their northern range, settling in to endure the winter weather in a variety of life stages.

Mourning Cloaks overwinter in sheltered areas and emerge in early spring to feed on tree sap. Photo by Cathy Passler.

Adults: Butterflies that remain in cold-winter areas as adults find safe places to rest, like cracks in rocks or tree bark, and enter a state known as diapause. This is essentially a kind of hibernation for bugs, where butterflies shut down all their non-essential systems like reproduction and slow their metabolism dramatically. Special chemicals in their bodies work as anti-freeze, and the butterfly remains dormant until warmer weather arrives. These are usually the last butterflies to be seen in an area each fall, and the first to reappear in the spring. Examples include:

  • Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
  • Comma (Polygonia comma)

Caterpillar: Other species spend the winter as caterpillars, buried deep in leaf litter or soil or rolled into a shelter of leaves. They also enter a state of diapause. In the spring, these caterpillars don’t reemerge until their host plants have begun growing, so many of them use early spring wildflowers or budding tree leaves as hosts. Examples include:

  • Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
  • Red-Spotted Purple / White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis)

Chrysalis: Butterflies who spend the winter in chrysalis find a sheltered place like overhangs or deep shrubbery. The chrysalis, like the adult and caterpillar, stops development over the winter months and contains special chemicals to keep from freezing. When the warmer weather returns and the days lengthen, development resumes in the chrysalis and the adult butterfly emerges in time for fresh blooms on nectar plants. Examples include:

  • Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
  • Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)

Egg: Perhaps the most vulnerable species are those who spend the winter as eggs, usually laid in late fall in the leaf litter at the base of the host plant. These eggs will hatch in the spring when the host plant has put on new growth. Examples include:

  • Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus)
  • Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides)

Migrate or Move South: Any butterfly that is unable to withstand freezing temperatures in at least one part of its life cycle must move south for the winter. Some do so in spectacular long migrations, like monarchs (Danaus plexippus), while others simply shift their populations to the southern part of their range, like common buckeyes (Junonia coenia). Other migrants include:

  • Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
  • Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

How Can I Help? You can help butterflies survive their winters, no matter how they do it, with a few simple actions:

  • Leave leaf litter beneath trees undisturbed when possible. It’s likely to contain overwintering caterpillars or eggs.
  • If you find what looks like a dead chrysalis in your garage or garden shed in the winter, leave it there. The butterfly inside may well emerge when spring comes.
  • Offer nectar plants in your garden in early spring and late fall to help the first and last butterflies of the season.

TIP: Want to know how a specific kind of butterfly spends the winter? Visit Butterflies and Moths of North America and do a search. Each species has its wintering information listed under “Life History”. You can also see a list of common butterfly species and their winter habits here.

Do you know the mating process of snails is one of the most interesting ones in the animal kingdom? Snails are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs. Also, they can only lay eggs when mating with another snail of the same species. It gets even more exciting – some snails mate as a female one season and as a male the next, but other snails can play both roles at the same time and fertilize each other simultaneously. How cool is that? The only snails that are not hermaphrodites are some freshwater and marine species, such as Apple Snails and periwinkles. These two types of snails still have separate male and female individuals.

Snail mating

When do snails mate?

Usually in the late spring or early summer, but in some warmer climates it can happen in autumn or even several times per year. Mating happens after the sunset, when the snails are at their peak activity. The mating process is very slow – like everything else snails do – and it can take up to 12 hours. Once completed, the sperm can remain in the snail for up to a year, but usually snails lay eggs within two weeks.

Snails are mature enough to start reproducing from one month and a half to 5 years, depending on species. The reason is their short life span of five to seven years, allowing for a faster growth rate of the species.

Fun Fact:

Snails can refuse to mate with another snail of the same species that originated from a considerable distance away.

How do snails mate?

Snail reproductive organs are on the bottom of their body and close to the front to improve their abilities to mate. At the end of the mating ritual, both snails will fertilize the eggs in the other, so both of them will deliver eggs. A snail can carry up to 100 eggs at a time.

Once the fertilization is completed, eggs will grow inside the snail, until they are ready to be delivered. Snails lay their eggs in the soil and bury them into separate places inside a small hole 1 to 1½ inches deep in the soil in a cool place. This will protect the eggs and enable them to hatch.

See the below video of a snail laying eggs – very interesting to see it from this perspective.

Perfect snail mating conditions

Snails need soil at least 2 inches deep in which to lay their eggs and the soil has to be the right temperature, humidity and composition.

Best conditions:

  • Soil temperature: around 21 °C (70 °F).
  • Soil moisture: 80%
  • Composition: 20% – 40 % organic material

Snails reproduce mostly in their second year of life and may lose a lot of weight during laying eggs. Some snails never recover and die after the snail breeding season. Snails will start mating and laying eggs in months with at least 10 hours of daylight. Eggs will begin hatching after 2 – 4 weeks, depending on the warmth. Little baby snails will climb out of their nests after several more days. As soon as snails hatch they will need a source of calcium to build a stronger shell. The best source of calcium is their own egg and other, still unhatched, eggs, which is called cannibalism. Baby snails take three months to look like a snail – still very small, but with all features fully visible.

How to avoid cannibalism of hatchlings?

Keep the temperature around 20 °C (68 °F) and most eggs will hatch within 1 to 3 days apart, which will prevent cannibalism. Sometimes the hatching process can happen over a longer period and this makes cannibalism much more frequent.

Snails reproduce themselves very efficiently, which makes the snail breeding a fairly simple procedure and the snail farm a very profitable form of farming. Snails being hermaphrodites and laying many eggs at the same time means the farm can grow from a small breeding patch very quickly.

The below video shows mating of snails:

Brown Garden Snail

HPIPM:Home > Insect Fact Sheets > Brown Garden Snail

Compiled by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University:

Colorado Insects of Interest

European Brown Snail
Figure 1. Brown garden snail.

Scientific Name: Cornu aspersum (Muller)
(= Helix aspersa; = Cyptomphalus aspersa; = Centareus aspersum)

Phylum: Mollusca Class: Gastropoda Order: Pulmonata Family: Helicidae

Identification and Descriptive Features: The brown garden snail is the largest snail one may find in Colorado. It has a globular, whorled shell that may be 28-32 mm in diameter (1 – 1 1/4-in) in full-grown adults. The shell is finely wrinkled and yellow or horn colored with darker brown banding. The opening of the shell is oval or crescent shaped and has the lip turned up. Immature snails resemble the adults but are smaller.

Distribution in Colorado: The brown garden snail is native to Britain, western Europe and regions that surround the Mediterranean and Black Seas. It has been distributed widely worldwide, intentionally (as an escargot species) and accidentally. It has been repeatedly introduced accidentally into Colorado, most frequently on nursery stock. Establishment appears to have occurred in some locations in Boulder and Jefferson counties; it is likely present in many other areas of the state. Dry conditions and extreme winter cold will determine the ultimate distribution of this species within the state.

Life History and Habits: The brown garden snail is normally active at night, although may be observed feeding during wet, overcast periods. Eggs are laid in moist soil, deposited in a mass of several dozen in a cavity scooped 2-3 cm deep by the “foot” of the snail. Multiple masses of eggs may be laid by an individual snail, with egg laying periods separated by a month or more. As with other snails, the brown garden snail is a hermaphrodite, possessing both male and female sex organs. It is capable of self-fertilization but fertilization with another snail regularly occurs.

The young snails have a very thin shell and are tiny, but generally resemble the adults. They feed on a wide variety of vegetable matter, including many garden plants. In some areas of the US, notably California, they are considered important pests of gardens and citrus crops.

Under favorable conditions the brown garden snail may mature within a year and adults can normally live about a year. However, development will be slowed by unfavorable conditions of dryness and cold. During dry conditions the snails will go dormant and seal themselves in the shell with a parchment-like covering over the shell opening. In this dormant state they can suspend activity for many months, resuming when favorable conditions return.

Feeding normally occurs when temperatures range between 5-21°C (40-66°F), being slower at cooler temperatures and suspended when very warm. Winter temperatures below -5°C (24°F) may be lethal.

Special Note: The brown garden snail is an edible species and was originally introduced into California for escargot dishes. It subsequently escaped confinement and established as a pest.

Figure 2. Brown garden snail. Photograph courtesy of Bob Hammon. Figure 3. Brown garden snail laying egg mass in soil chamber nest. Photograph courtesy Ken Gray Collection/Oregon State University. Figure 4. Brown garden snails after egg hatch. Photograph courtesy of Ken Gray Collection/Oregon State University.

The information herein is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and that listing of commercial products, necessary to this guide, implies no endorsement by the authors or the Extension Services of Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming or Montana. Criticism of products or equipment not listed is neither implied nor intended. Due to constantly changing labels, laws and regulations, the Extension Services can assume no liability for the suggested use of chemicals contained herein. Pesticides must be applied legally complying with all label directions and precautions on the pesticide container and any supplemental labeling and rules of state and federal pesticide regulatory agencies. State rules and regulations and special pesticide use allowances may vary from state to state: contact your State Department of Agriculture for the rules, regulations and allowances applicable in your state and locality.

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Snail Sex

In nature, fatherhood is easier. It’s the quickest, cheapest way to pass on your genes. Motherhood requires a much greater investment of time, energy, and resources.

“Courtship is how they sort that out,” Roth said. “Who’s going to be male? Who’s going to be female? Or is it going to be shared?”

With garden snails, “courtship” is somewhat euphemistic. Their idea of foreplay is to stab each other with a tiny spike called a love dart.

Here’s the play-by-play. Snails find mates using taste and smell. By waving their upper tentacles in the air—smelling—and tapping their lower ones on the ground—tasting—they pick up on the gooey trails of potential partners.

Then they follow the slime.

(For a detailed look at the many uses of slime, checkout this episode of Deep Look, Banana Slugs: Secret of the Slime.)

Snails spend hours smelling and tasting a potential mate. (Elliott Kennerson / KQED)

When snails meet, the tasting and smelling continue, this time with full-body contact, sometimes for hours. Call it heavy petting or extreme vetting, snails take the time to get to know their partners.

Everything in this courtship is wine and roses at first—then comes the love dart.

Technically called a gypsobelum, the love dart is a nail-clipping-sized needle that stays hidden in an internal sac until about half an hour before copulation begins, when the sac inverts and it’s fired, or stabbed, indiscriminately into the partner’s body.

“Being stabbed by the male dart makes you more of a female-oriented partner in that courtship,” said Roth.

Garden snails stab each other with “love darts” before copulation. (Koene & Schulenburg 2005 BMC Evol. Biol.)

The love dart is the snails’ tool for maximizing their male side. It injects hormones to prevent the other snail’s body from killing newly introduced sperm once copulation begins.

When snails copulate, two penises enter two vaginal tracts. Both snails in a pairing transfer sperm, but whichever snail got in the best shot with the dart has a better chance of ultimately fertilizing eggs.

In some species, only one snail fires a love dart, but in others, like the garden snail, both do.

“The whole reproductive system is a quite a maze,” said Joris Koene, a gastropod researcher at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

When snails copulate, two penises enter two vaginas, and they exchange sperm. (Elliott Kennerson / KQED)

You can spot love darts sticking out of snails in mid-courtship, and even find them abandoned in slime puddles where mating has been happening.

Scale it up to human size and the love dart would be the equivalent of a 15-inch knife, according to Koene. Nonetheless, he’s only seen one snail die by dart.

How to hatch snail eggs?

Snails are highly underrated creatures. Despite what you might think, they can be great pets and even serve as a lucrative business opportunity. But how should one deal with snail breeding and snail reproduction? Today, we will help you with that by providing information on how to rear snail at home and how to take care of snail eggs before they have hatched.

Reproduction in snail is actually a very fascinating and slightly weird process. Snails are usually hermaphrodites (they can be both male and female), so to get the snail eggs, all you need is a couple of adult snails. Their mating process is rather aggressive, but you should not intervene, if you want it to be successful.

Depending on the species, the amount of eggs might be different. Usually, it is about 50-100 eggs, so be prepared for lots of tiny baby snails! Below, you can find out how to take care of the eggs and how to hatch them.

How to take care of snail eggs

Before we get to the egg hatching part, you need to know how to rear snail eggs first. Overall, snail eggs do not require much upkeep, but you might still want to check on them every once in a while to see if they are OK.

Snail rearing methods are slightly different when it comes to land and aquatic snails. The former puts the eggs on the soil or sometimes inside it, while the latter – above the waterline in the aquarium. This leads to different approaches to taking care of the eggs. Let’s take a look at how to take care of each type.

How to take care of land snail eggs

Most of the time, land snails lay their eggs in strategic places. They know what their eggs need; therefore, it is not recommended to move the eggs to a different location. However, sometimes land snails lay eggs all over the place, which makes it much harder to take care of them.

You have two options:

First, you can move them to one location carefully and cover them with a glass or a tub. Do not forget about air holes! Second, you can scoop them with the soil they lie in and transfer them to a different tank.

The bigger the eggs, the less interference they need. If your snail eggs reach 10 mm or more in size, it is best to leave them be. If you bother them too much, they might not hatch. However, regardless of their size, all land snail eggs need to be warm and moist. You can cover them with a bit of damp soil to keep the moisture in.

How to take care of aquatic snail eggs

As we have said before, aquatic snails lay their eggs near the edges of the tank above water. So if you see a strange white or pink substance on your aquarium wall, do not be alarmed. Those are just snail eggs. Aquatic snail eggs do not require much taking care of at all. All you need to ensure is that they are moist and safe from the fish or floating debris, and your egg will be fine.

Fun fact:

There are definitely way more eggs in one clutch then you think. If you see about 50 eggs, you can be certain that there are at least twice as many there! Some species can lay up to 120 eggs.

Now when you know how to take care of your snail eggs, it is time to learn how to hatch them!

How to hatch snail eggs

READ ALSO: How to make fish feed at home?

You might be wondering:

‘How long do snail eggs take to hatch?’ Well, it depends on the species and the conditions the snails live in. It might take from a few weeks up to a month. Some kinds of land snails can hatch the day after the egg was laid. Therefore, if you want to know the precise amount of days, read up on the species that you have.

To be fair, snail eggs do not need much outside help to hatch. However, there are some tips that will ensure that the eggs hatch properly and that the baby snails are safe.

Tip #1. If you want to protect your snail eggs, move them to a separate tank/container. If they stay in the regular container, they might fall prey to the other inhabitants, including the parents. This is especially applicable to the aquatic snails, as some fishes like to ‘snack’ on the low-hanging eggs. By moving them to a separate place, you will definitely improve their chances of survival.

Tip #2. If you decided to leave them in their original place, protect them at all cost. You already know what to do with land snail eggs. However, you will need a net breeder for your aquarium for aquatic snails. It will protect the newborn snails from dropping into the tank right away, as well as keep them away from harm. Put some plants in the breeder for your baby snails to crawl and snack on when they hatch.

Tip #3. Both land and aquatic snail eggs need to stay moist, so make sure you spray them regularly, so that they do not become dry and crusty. If your eggs have dried out completely, it means that you are too late, sorry.

Tip #4. It is best if you do not help land snail eggs to hatch. Baby land snails can do that on their own. Nevertheless, you can help aquatic snails to hatch by gently scraping the eggs into the breeder and swishing them around in the water until the egg dissolves and the baby snail comes out.

Tip #5. Let your newly-hatched snails eat their shells. The shells contain important nutrients that cannot be found anywhere else. However, try to remove the already hatched snails, as they might move on from eating their own shells to eating their unborn brethren. When the snails are about 1 cm in size, you can move them back to the general tank.

We hope that this article was helpful and that you have a whole bunch of tiny snails crawling around. Now all you have to do is to find a place for all of them, but that is a whole other story. Take good care of your baby snails!

READ ALSO: Snail farming in Nigeria: How to start your business?

Breeding & Eggs

Eggs and very small babies should be kept separate from adult snails to avoid damaging them. A tupperware tub (with airholes!) with some substrate and food is perfect for keeping baby snails.

However, it is important to remember that the supply of baby Giant African Land Snails is greater than the demand, making them incredibly hard to re-home or sell. If you don’t want to or can’t keep lots of baby snails, then it is best to destroy the eggs by freezing them as soon as possible. Under no circumstances should you let baby African Land Snails or their eggs loose outside, as this is illegal in many countries and will do a great deal of damage to the surrounding wildlife. Cleaning your snail tank out regularly will ensure that you find any eggs before they hatch.

Re-Homing Snails

Unfortunately, there is an extremely large number of unwanted Giant African Land Snails within the UK and so they are often very difficult to find good homes for.

If you do find yourself with unwanted snails, the classified section on this Pet Snail Forum is a good place to advertise, as well as Preloved.co.uk, which has a large number of snail postings. Facebook has many groups dedicated to snails and snail care but we are are a member and supporter of Snail World, which has an active community of snail lovers and often has space for you to offer your snail babies to other owners. Be warned: There are some people who purchase snails as live feed for reptiles, so be careful when vetting responses if you are concerned about this.

If you manage to find a buyer or someone willing to adopt your snails, be sure to provide them with sufficient care information and inform them that regular checking for eggs is required. Snails can live for around ten years and grow very large, so make sure the new owner is aware of the responsibility.

Appearance/Basic Anatomy

  • The slime these dragons secrete dries to a tough, rubbery finish when exposed to open air.
  • The larger the crest on the male, the more appealing of a mate he appears to females.
  • Like many other aquatic dragons, waterhorses tolerate both fresh and saltwater well.
  • This breed has unusual dentation, featuring specialized teeth for breaking shellfish.
  • Waterhorses have swim bladders they expand and contract to control their overall buoyancy, similar to fish.
  • The bone structure of their flippers is highly cartilaginous.
  • Fully grown waterhorse dragons have specialized paddle-like wings to allow it to swim gracefully through the sea.
  • Laterally flattened bones act as flat struts across the broad surface of their membranous feet.

Hatchling Behavior

  • Owing to their hooked premolars, teething for young waterhorse dragons is especially painful.
  • Waterhorse hatchlings eat near constantly.
  • They are especially friendly with domestic animals and children.
  • Extremely playful and curious.
  • Playfully chase each other through reefs and shoals.

Adult Behavior

  • Waterhorse dragons have an apparent preoccupation with removing starfish from their territory and tossing them far, far away.
  • Instead of fighting, male waterhorses attempting to draw the attention of mates will strike ever more elaborate poses in hopes of besting their competition.
  • Adults sometimes chase seals aground, and appear to enjoy waddling around after them by land.
  • Adults make a sound that is very laugh-like for various reasons, including expressing happiness.
  • Can be described as “artistic” due to their underwater routines and dances used to attract mates and their affinity for aquascaping.

Habitat

  • Typically, Waterhorses can be found in vegetation and kelp, twining through their gardens and surveying the waters of their homes.
  • Though not advised, it is possible to rear hatchlings in large tubs or basins filled with clean or salty water.

Diet

  • They willingly starve before resorting to eating starfish.
  • Waterhorse dragons have been known to drown and eat crocodiles when in hostile environments.
  • Can be trained (with great pains) to not eat ornamental pond fish in captivity.

The strange and sensational world of leopard slug sex

A leopard slug’s huge blue-tinted penis and upside-down reproductive acrobatics make for a colourful sex life.

Twisting their slimy bodies together, the large slugs dangle upside down from a glittering rope of mucus, slowly rotating. Then, out of the molluscs’ heads emerge large, blue, tube-like growths that wrap and writhe around each other.

If you come across this weird sight, you’d be forgiven for thinking the slug’s wriggling blue protrusions were some sort of parasite, or even emerging young.

But what you’d actually be witnessing is a mating ritual of a pair of amorous leopard slugs, and the large blue tubes that grow out of the right side of the slugs’ heads are their immense penises.

Terrestrial slugs are hermaphrodites – so by wrapping their penises around one another, leopard slugs fertilise each other’s eggs.

Welcome to the strange, sticky and sensational world of slug sex.

“Leopard slugs and their relatives are unusual among slugs in that they hang upside-down to mate,” says Dr Ben Rowson, an expert in terrestrial molluscs at the National Museum Wales.

The bizarre mating method is featured in the latest series of Nature’s Weirdest Events on BBC Two. In the programme Dr Rowson says: “Not many people would sign up to watch slugs mating, but once you’ve actually seen it… it is beautiful, it takes a long time and it’s kind of hypnotic and elegant.”

Leopard slugs (Limax maximus) can grow up to 20cm in length and are recognisable by their distinctive, leopard-like spots and colouring. Their mating rituals most often occur after dark.

Sexual encounters in the slugs are relatively rare: they can fertilise their own eggs, so some individuals never mate. And those that do need only to mate once in their lives.

But because the slugs are hermaphrodites, they can partner with any other leopard slug they meet.

Amorous acrobatics

To mate, the slugs hang upside down from a string of mucus they have secreted because they need the help of gravity to extend their large penises from openings in their heads.

These appendages, which are the length of the slugs’ entire bodies, are often coloured blueish by the slugs’ body fluids.

Afterwards leopard slugs may lay up to 200 eggs, from which tiny, pale white babies emerge.

Their large penises “may be an adaptation to ensure sperm delivery”, explains Dr Rowson. “The most evolutionary successful slugs… are likely to be those that fertilise the largest possible number of eggs.

“To do this, they would have to ensure that as well as having their own eggs fertilised, they deliver their own sperm to other slugs… longer penises may be more effective at doing this.”

Although leopard slugs’ penises are proportionally large, some related slug species in southern Europe can grow their penises three of four times the length of their bodies, says Dr Rowson.

Slugs’ mating systems are diverse and colourful: some slugs do not have penises but stick together with precision. And among some African species recently discovered by Dr Rowson, things get even more bizarre: some have spiny or thorny genitalia, or arrow-like love darts “that make the mating of leopard slugs look tame”, he says.

“One Tanzanian species, Upembella nonae, even inserts a barbed-wire like spermatophore into its partner when mating.”

So as sensational as leopard slugs’ sex lives may be, the slimy lovers may find themselves outcompeted by fellow molluscs when it comes to mystifying mating systems.

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Discover more about slugs with National Museum Wales

Slimy Leaf Tentacle

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  • Astral Source
  • Badger Fur
  • Bamboo Stick
  • Banana Sash
  • Basalt Fetish
  • Basalt Figurine
  • Bat Wing
  • Battle Stone
  • Bear Paw
  • Beast’s Nightmare-Cushion
  • Bed of Nails
  • Beetle Carapace
  • Behemoth Claw
  • Black Hood
  • Black Wool
  • Blazing Bone
  • Blood Preservation
  • Blood Tincture in a Vial
  • Bloody Dwarven Beard
  • Bloody Pincers
  • Blue Fireworks Powder
  • Blue Goanna Scale
  • Blue Piece of Cloth
  • Boggy Dreads
  • Bola
  • Bone Fetish
  • Bone Shoulderplate
  • Bone Toothpick
  • Bonecarving Knife
  • Bonelord Eye
  • Bony Tail
  • Book Page
  • Book of Necromantic Rituals
  • Book of Prayers
  • Bowl of Terror Sweat
  • Brain Head’s Brain
  • Brain Head’s Giant Neuron
  • Brain Head’s Left Hemisphere
  • Brain Head’s Right Hemisphere
  • Bright Bell
  • Brimstone Fangs
  • Brimstone Shell
  • Broken Crossbow
  • Broken Draken Mail
  • Broken Gladiator Shield
  • Broken Halberd
  • Broken Helmet
  • Broken Key Ring
  • Broken Shamanic Staff
  • Broken Slicer
  • Broken Throwing Axe
  • Broken Visor
  • Brown Piece of Cloth
  • Brutus Bloodbeard’s Hat
  • Bunch of Troll Hair
  • Bundle of Cursed Straw
  • Carniphila Seeds
  • Carrion Worm Fang
  • Cat’s Paw
  • Cave Devourer Eyes
  • Cave Devourer Legs
  • Cave Devourer Maw
  • Cavebear Skull
  • Centipede Leg
  • Chasm Spawn Abdomen
  • Chasm Spawn Head
  • Chasm Spawn Tail
  • Cheese Cutter
  • Cheesy Figurine
  • Chicken Feather
  • Chitinous Mouth (Baron from Below)
  • Chitinous Mouth (Count of the Core)
  • Christmas Present Bag
  • Cliff Strider Claw
  • Cluster of Solace
  • Coal
  • Coal Eyes
  • Cobra Crest
  • Cobra Tongue
  • Cockroach Leg
  • Colourful Feather
  • Colourful Snail Shell
  • Compass
  • Compound Eye
  • Condensed Energy
  • Corrupted Flag
  • Countess Sorrow’s Frozen Tear
  • Cow Bell
  • Cowbell
  • Crab Pincers
  • Cracked Alabaster Vase
  • Crawler Head Plating
  • Crystal Bone
  • Crystalline Spikes
  • Crystallized Anger
  • Cultish Mask
  • Cultish Robe
  • Cultish Symbol
  • Curious Matter
  • Cursed Bone
  • Cursed Shoulder Spikes
  • Cyclops Toe
  • Damaged Armor Plates
  • Damaged Worm Head
  • Damselfly Eye
  • Damselfly Wing
  • Dandelion Seeds
  • Dangerous Proto Matter
  • Dark Bell
  • Dark Rosary
  • Dead Weight
  • Deadeye Devious’ Eye Patch
  • Deathstrike’s Snippet
  • Deepling Breaktime Snack
  • Deepling Claw
  • Deepling Guard Belt Buckle
  • Deepling Ridge
  • Deepling Scales
  • Deepling Warts
  • Deeptags
  • Deepworm Jaws
  • Deepworm Spike Roots
  • Deepworm Spikes
  • Demon Dust
  • Demon Horn
  • Demonic Essence
  • Demonic Finger
  • Demonic Skeletal Hand
  • Diremaw Brainpan
  • Diremaw Legs
  • Dirty Turban
  • Downy Feather
  • Dowser
  • Dracola’s Eye
  • Dragon’s Tail
  • Dragon Blood
  • Dragon Claw
  • Dragon Crown
  • Dragon Priest’s Wandtip
  • Dragon Tongue
  • Draken Sulphur
  • Draken Wristbands
  • Draptor Scales
  • Dream Essence Egg
  • Dream Matter
  • Dung Ball
  • Dwarven Beard
  • Earflap
  • Elder Bonelord Tentacle
  • Elven Astral Observer
  • Elven Hoof
  • Elven Scouting Glass
  • Elvish Talisman
  • Empty Honey Glass
  • Enchanted Chicken Wing
  • Energy Ball
  • Energy Soil
  • Energy Vein
  • Ensouled Essence
  • Essence of a Bad Dream
  • Eternal Flames
  • Execowtioner Mask
  • Eye Patch
  • Eye of Corruption
  • Eye of a Deepling
  • Eye of a Weeper
  • Fafnar Symbol
  • Fairy Wings
  • Falcon Crest
  • Ferumbras’ Hat
  • Ferumbras’ Mana Keg
  • Fiery Heart
  • Fig Leaf
  • Fir Cone
  • Fireworks Capsule
  • Fish Fin
  • Flames of the Percht Queen
  • Flask of Embalming Fluid
  • Flask of Warrior’s Sweat
  • Flawless Ice Crystal
  • Flintstone
  • Fly Agaric
  • Fox Paw
  • Frazzle Skin
  • Frazzle Tongue
  • Frost Giant Pelt
  • Frosty Ear of a Troll
  • Frosty Heart
  • Frozen Carrot
  • Frozen Chain
  • Frozen Lightning
  • Frozen Time
  • Gauze Bandage
  • Gear Crystal
  • Gear Wheel
  • Geomancer’s Robe
  • Geomancer’s Staff
  • Ghastly Dragon Head
  • Ghostly Tissue
  • Ghoul Snack
  • Giant Crab Pincer
  • Giant Eye
  • Giant Pacifier
  • Giant Tentacle
  • Girlish Hair Decoration
  • Gland
  • Glimmering Soil
  • Glistening Bone
  • Glob of Acid Slime
  • Glob of Glooth
  • Glob of Mercury
  • Glob of Tar
  • Gloom Wolf Fur
  • Glooth Injection Tube
  • Glowing Carrot
  • Glowing Rune
  • Gnomevil’s Hat
  • Goanna Claw
  • Goanna Meat
  • Goblin Ear
  • Golden Bell
  • Golden Cotton Reel
  • Golden Horseshoe
  • Golden Lotus Brooch
  • Golden Talon
  • Goosebump Leather
  • Grainy Fireworks Powder
  • Grant of Arms
  • Green Bandage
  • Green Dragon Leather
  • Green Dragon Scale
  • Green Fireworks Powder
  • Green Piece of Cloth
  • Grimace
  • Guidebook
  • Hair of a Banshee
  • Half-Digested Piece of Meat
  • Half-Digested Stones
  • Half-Eaten Brain
  • Hardened Bone
  • Harpoon of a Giant Snail
  • Hatched Rorc Egg
  • Haunted Piece of Wood
  • Heaven Blossom
  • Hellhound Slobber
  • Hellspawn Tail
  • Hemp Rope
  • Hideous Chunk
  • High Guard Flag
  • High Guard Shoulderplates
  • Hollow Stampor Hoof
  • Holy Ash
  • Holy Orchid
  • Honeycomb
  • Hook
  • Horoscope
  • Horseshoe
  • Huge Chunk of Crude Iron
  • Huge Shell
  • Huge Spiky Snail Shell
  • Humongous Chunk
  • Hunter’s Quiver
  • Hydra Egg
  • Hydra Head
  • Ice Flower
  • Iced Soil
  • Icicle (The Percht Queen)
  • Incantation Notes
  • Inkwell (Black)
  • Instable Proto Matter
  • Ivory Comb
  • Izcandar’s Snow Globe
  • Izcandar’s Sundial
  • Jewelled Belt
  • Key to Knowledge
  • Key to the Drowned Library
  • Kollos Shell
  • Kongra’s Shoulderpad
  • Lamassu Hoof
  • Lamassu Horn
  • Lancer Beetle Shell
  • Lancet
  • Legionnaire Flags
  • Lion’s Mane
  • Little Bowl of Myrrh
  • Lizard Essence
  • Lizard Heart
  • Lizard Leather
  • Lizard Scale
  • Longing Eyes
  • Lost Basher’s Spike
  • Lost Bracers
  • Lost Husher’s Staff
  • Luminous Orb
  • Lump of Dirt
  • Lump of Earth
  • Mad Froth
  • Magic Sulphur
  • Magma Clump
  • Malofur’s Lunchbox
  • Mammoth Tusk
  • Mantassin Tail
  • Manticore Ear
  • Manticore Tail
  • Marsh Stalker Beak
  • Marsh Stalker Feather
  • Maxilla
  • Maxxenius Head
  • Medicine Pouch
  • Metal Jaw
  • Metal Spike
  • Metal Toe
  • Milk Churn
  • Minotaur Horn
  • Minotaur Leather
  • Miraculum
  • Mooh’tah Shell
  • Moohtant Horn
  • Morgaroth’s Heart
  • Mother Soil
  • Mr. Punish’s Handcuffs
  • Mutated Bat Ear
  • Mutated Flesh
  • Mutated Rat Tail
  • Mystical Hourglass
  • Natural Soil
  • Necromantic Robe
  • Necromantic Rust
  • Nettle Blossom
  • Nettle Spit
  • Neutral Matter
  • Noble Cape
  • Noble Turban
  • Nose Ring
  • Odd Organ
  • Ogre Ear Stud
  • Ogre Nose Ring
  • Old Parchment
  • Orange Fireworks Powder
  • Orc Leather
  • Orc Tooth
  • Orc Tusk
  • Orcish Gear
  • Orshabaal’s Brain
  • Pair of Hellflayer Horns
  • Pale Worm’s Scalp
  • Panther Head
  • Panther Paw
  • Patch of Fine Cloth
  • Peacock Feather Fan
  • Peg Leg
  • Pelvis Bone
  • Percht Broom
  • Percht Handkerchief
  • Percht Horns
  • Percht Queen’s Frozen Heart
  • Percht Skull
  • Perfect Behemoth Fang
  • Petrified Scream
  • Piece of Archer Armor
  • Piece of Crocodile Leather
  • Piece of Dead Brain
  • Piece of Draconian Steel
  • Piece of Hell Steel
  • Piece of Hellfire Armor
  • Piece of Massacre’s Shell
  • Piece of Royal Steel
  • Piece of Scarab Shell
  • Piece of Swampling Wood
  • Piece of Warrior Armor
  • Pieces of Magic Chalk
  • Pig Foot
  • Pile of Grave Earth
  • Plagueroot Offshoot
  • Plasma Pearls
  • Plasmatic Lightning
  • Poison Gland
  • Poison Spider Shell
  • Poisoned Fang
  • Poisonous Slime
  • Polar Bear Paw
  • Pool of Chitinous Glue
  • Pristine Worm Head
  • Protective Charm
  • Pulverized Ore
  • Pure Energy
  • Purple Fireworks Powder
  • Purple Robe
  • Quara Bone
  • Quara Eye
  • Quara Pincers
  • Quara Tentacle
  • Quill
  • Rabbit’s Foot
  • Rare Earth
  • Ravenous Circlet
  • Raw Meat
  • Red Dragon Leather
  • Red Dragon Scale
  • Red Fireworks Powder
  • Red Goanna Scale
  • Red Hair Dye
  • Red Lantern
  • Red Piece of Cloth
  • Rhino Hide
  • Rhino Horn
  • Rhino Horn Carving
  • Rope Belt
  • Rorc Egg
  • Rorc Feather
  • Rotten Heart
  • Rotten Piece of Cloth
  • Sabretooth
  • Safety Pin
  • Sandcrawler Shell
  • Scale of Corruption
  • Scarab Pincers
  • Scorpion Tail
  • Scroll of Heroic Deeds
  • Scythe Leg
  • Sea Serpent Scale
  • Seacrest Hair
  • Seacrest Scale
  • Seeds
  • Shadow Mask
  • Shadow Paint
  • Shaggy Tail
  • Shamanic Hood
  • Shamanic Talisman
  • Shard
  • Shimmering Beetles
  • Shiny Stone
  • Sight of Surrender’s Eye
  • Silencer Claws
  • Silencer Resonating Chamber
  • Silken Bookmark
  • Silky Fur
  • Silver Hand Mirror
  • Single Human Eye
  • Skull Belt
  • Skull Fetish
  • Skull Shatterer
  • Skunk Tail
  • Slime Heart
  • Slime Mould
  • Slimy Leg
  • Small Energy Ball
  • Small Flask of Eyedrops
  • Small Notebook
  • Small Pitchfork
  • Snake Skin
  • Sniper Gloves
  • Solid Rage
  • Some Grimeleech Wings
  • Soul Orb
  • Soul Stone
  • Spark Sphere
  • Sparkion Claw
  • Sparkion Legs
  • Sparkion Stings
  • Sparkion Tail
  • Spellsinger’s Seal
  • Sphinx Feather
  • Sphinx Tiara
  • Spider Fangs
  • Spider Silk
  • Spidris Mandible
  • Spiked Iron Ball
  • Spitter Nose
  • Spooky Blue Eye
  • Spool of Yarn
  • Stampor Horn
  • Stampor Talons
  • Stone Nose
  • Stone Wing
  • Stonerefiner’s Skull
  • Strand of Medusa Hair
  • Strange Proto Matter
  • Striped Fur
  • Sulphurous Stone
  • Swamp Grass
  • Swampling Moss
  • Swarmer Antenna
  • Tail of Corruption
  • Tarantula Egg
  • Tarnished Rhino Figurine
  • Tattered Piece of Robe
  • Tentacle Piece

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