An extraordinary example of external sperm transfer is given by the great grey slug Limax maximus. At least one species, the grey field slug Deroceras reticulatum , shows a primitive degree of sperm packaging. They separate and crawl away from each other as soon as their genitals are untangled. A replacement penis does not grow back. And those that do need only to mate once in their lives. Many slugs also exhibit some degree of mucus-trail-following in order to locate a mate. This can occur along with or after sperm exchange. This manner of mating requires that the pair of genitalia be exactly opposed prior to copulation, a task made difficult in slugs as they have no sense of hearing and very limited vision.
The mucus may reveal information on body size or parasite infection, giving an insight into fecundity. In some species, such as banana slugs Ariolimax , pheromones are secreted together with the mucus to attract mates. Penis retraction is usually a fast process, although much slower than eversion. Intromission is simultaneously reciprocal in some species such as Ariolimax dolichophallus and unilateral in others such as Ariolimax californicus  Main article: It may even be possible for a follower to perform a quality assessment of a potential mate based on its mucus trail. As a result, these individuals can no longer mate, and are only able to reproduce uniparentally. Reciprocity, either simultaneous or serial, appears to alleviate the gender conflict, and is a feature of most slug matings. In the programme Dr Rowson says: They separate and crawl away from each other as soon as their genitals are untangled. It is not yet known whether tail waving is a visual cue or whether it wafts chemical attractants in the direction of the follower. The anterior parts of the slugs swell and roll slightly over to the left. You can help by adding to it. In the case where one penis is chewed off, this is usually done by the other slug. Mating of marine gastropods[ edit ] For example, in mating of sea slugs Siphopteron quadrispinosum there occur traumatic mating. Secretions, presumably from the glandular part of the penis wall, are probably transferred by the sarcobela during this mutual stroking. Apophallation is most widely found in Ariolimax species,  which have internal sperm exchange. This section needs expansion. In addition to Ariolimax species, autoapophallation self-amputation has been documented in Deroceras laeve. The slugs often switch roles after sperm transfer for a second round of mating. It is also during courtship that the ejaculate is prepared; sperm flows from storage into the penis and, in some species, is assembled into packages such as spermatophores. The slugs then lie close together, remaining in the antiparallel configuration. Apophallation may be made necessary in order for separation to occur by the partner tightly gripping the penis via a special muscle of the female reproductive tract. After this, it is common for one or both slugs to engage in mucus consumption; they may return to the mating site and lick the mucus off the ground, or lick it from their own body surface. Received sperm is either digested or used for the fertilisation of eggs. Each protrudes from its genital pore a sarcobelum, a highly manoeuvrable penile structure, with which it strokes its mate. The leading slug seemingly pauses to wait for the follower, tail waving, if the follower falls too far behind.
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