Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Crazy Bananna Slugs
Yesterday I was in the backyard setting up for some bird photography and I spotted a Banana Slug by the back steps. I continued working knowing it wouldn't get far. When I was done about a half hour later I went back and found it about a foot from where I first saw it. I moved it onto some moss and photographed it; then I took it to the forest edge and let it go. Not that they go very fast. Banana Slugs are pretty amazing. They are a member of the mollusk family which includes oysters, abalone and octopus. Not living in the ocean and not having a shell they keep their body moist with slime! When you pick one up you get slime all over your fingers. The secret to picking one up is to use a bent leaf between your finger and thumb to keep the slime off. Their eyes are very cool as they are on optical tentacles that can expand and retract. They live in the forests along the coast from Southern Alaska to Central California. They are detritivores eating everything from rotting leaves and plants to animal droppings. One of their favorite things to eat is fungi. One day I found five of them eating a large Bolete Mushroom next to a forest trail. If you look at the image below you will see a hole in the slugs side. That’s the slugs nose! The hole is called the pneumostone and it leads to a primitive lung inside a hump just above it. Inside the hole is another smaller hole where the slugs anus is. Can you imagine having your anus inside your nose? Just in front of the hole and above it is the mantle which covers a hole where the slugs genitals are. Banana slugs have a wild sex life. They are hermaphrodites with each slug having both sexes. They each have a huge penis which is almost as long as the body. They move side by side to have sex that can last more than an hour. They both exchange eggs and sperm with one another. It can take longer than fifteen minutes to disengage. Sometimes one of the penises will get stuck. In that situation the slugs take turns chewing it off. Oh my!! It’s not known if the penis grows back and the slug remains a female. Well there you go. More facts about Banana slugs than you probably ever needed to know. Delight in God’s creatures, chris Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 IS USM at 390mm. Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with a 3055 Ballhead. , Camera Settings- AV Mode,ISO 400,F11.0, Shutter speed 1/80th of a sec.