A bizarre, hermaphrodite sea slug may give new meaning to the word "quickie." The nudibranch uses a disposable penis to have sex more frequently, according to a new study.
The animal, described today (Feb. 12) in the journal Biology Letters, is the first discovered to use an easily regenerated, disposable penis.
Nudibranches are simultaneous hermaphrodites, meaning that they have penises that they use to fertilize others as well as female sex organs. But exactly how their sex worked remained a mystery.
To find out, Ayami Sekizawa, a biologist at Osaka City University, and his colleagues collected specimens of the nudibranch Chromodoris reticulata while scuba diving off Okinawa, Japan. They then put 31 pairs of the creatures together in an aquarium and watched as they mated.
When the sea creatures copulated, they unfurled part of a long penis coiled up like a fire hose inside their bodies. The creatures then simultaneously penetrated one another with their penises (which are covered in backward-pointed spines), and after tens of seconds to a few minutes of sea slug sex, separated.
Edited by Hasina, 14 February 2013 - 12:29 PM.