Leopard Slug Aerial mating

This is the first shot that I got when I discovered a pair of Leopard Slugs (Limax maximus) beginning to mate in my garden. They were suspended by about a metre of the slime shown in the photo, and anchored from the bark of a tree trunk. They were about half a metre off the ground. At this stage they had finished producing the slime and were about to start really mating. In this shot you can see that part of the sexual organ has been 'everted' by the slug that's lower down. It is a very beautiful thing - translucent white, almost blue, like those photos of ice caverns you see.
The other slug has also begun to evert the organ. You can see that it comes out from around the side of the head. Well those beautiful organs have found each other and they've entwined a few times. You can see another feature of the organs - they are flanged.
Quite a surprise - for some reason the two organs have managed to make this interesting looking structure. It's hard to make out quite what is happening, but it seems like the flanges on the sides of the worm-like organs have grown and are standing out erect. So this is how they end up - the slugs hanging by a metre of slime, with their sexual organs entwined in this strange embrace. I suppose that they were exchanging some intimate substance. They stayed like this for a while, and unfortunately I was called away for dinner. When I returned they were gone, having taken their bungee cord with them.

Created on Wednesday June 04, 2003