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Leopard Slugs

Limax maximus


Mating slugs. I had never seen this before. It was beautiful! They were attached to the side of the tree with a long snotty strand and were hanging about 6 inches away from it. They were intertwined and spinning too!


The mating habits of Limax maximus are considered unusual among slugs: the hermaphrodite slugs court, usually for hours, by circling and licking each other. After this, the slugs will climb into a tree or other high area and then, entwined together, lower themselves on a thick string of mucus, evert their white translucent mating organs (penises) from their gonopores (openings on the right side of the head), entwine these organs, and exchange sperm. Both participants will later lay hundreds of eggs. A commonly seen practice among many slugs is apophallation, when one or both of the slugs chews off the other's penis. The penis of these species is curled like a corkscrew and often becomes entangled in their mate's genitalia in the process of exchanging sperm. When all else fails, apophallation allows the slugs to separate themselves. Once its penis has been removed, a slug is still able to participate in mating subsequently, but only using the female parts of its reproductive system.

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28 Comments (1–25)

outsidegirl0 7 years ago


Carol Snow Milne
Carol Snow Milne 8 years ago

So so incredible!

KarenL 8 years ago

Congrats Lisa, your spotting has been featured in the Project Noah Valentine's Day blog!

Great series, thanks for the information, great spotting.
You encourage me to place my slug spotting, although it is not as interesting as yours.

Mandy Hollman
Mandy Hollman 8 years ago

Great spotting, and thanks for adding it to Southern Romance. Thanks for all the fascinating information. Slugs are bizarre!

LisaPowers 9 years ago

It is not so much that it has to be in a mission, but that this is the most likely place people will search if they have a similar spotting and are looking for a match.

dandoucette 9 years ago

I see what you're saying, there is no mission to cover it,but do all spottings need to be in a mission, even if they techinically don't belong?

LisaPowers 9 years ago

Thanks Dan...and no, it is not really an insect at all and should not be classified as such, but there are no Tennessee missions that cover it, so hopefully people will read both our notes and understand that. It is at least in the 'other' category.

dandoucette 9 years ago

Cool! I saw the same scene last summer. I'm not sure if this spotting belongs in Insects of TN mission as slugs are a gastropod mollusc. Would that still be considered an insect?

LisaPowers 9 years ago

Thanks J and nexttogone :-)

nexttogone 9 years ago

Fascinating series! Thanks for posting it!

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 9 years ago

Very interesting!

LisaPowers 9 years ago

Thanks Larry :-)

LisaPowers 9 years ago

Thanks Karen! I never thought I would get beautiful pictures of slugs!

LarryGraziano 9 years ago

Great series Lisa!

KarenL 9 years ago

Beautiful! I never thought I would ever say that about slugs!

LisaPowers 9 years ago

Thanks Raeven!

Raeven 9 years ago

These are Leopard Slugs (Limax maximus). Their mating habits are rather unusual.

LisaPowers 9 years ago

Thanks! I have added it as suggested :-)

LisaPowers 9 years ago

Mayra, Atul, Johan and Chester....thanks, it was a most unexpected event and took a minute for me to process what was occurring.

LisaPowers 9 years ago

Thanks Emma and Ava! I have a few more add.

Hema 9 years ago

Happy 300th Lisa!!

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 9 years ago

Happy 300 with this beautiful spotting!

chesterbperry 9 years ago

Nice spot, you should add it to the southern romance mission.

Johan Heyns
Johan Heyns 9 years ago

Nature in all its facets! Thanks for sharing.

Spotted by

Tennessee, USA

Spotted on Aug 26, 2012
Submitted on Aug 27, 2012


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