Mating Nudibranches (Roboastra luteolineata) SMURF PENIS
On a recent dive, we stumbled upon a rather private moment between a couple of simultaneous hermaphrodites, Roboastra luteolineata, doing the mutual penis dance. They were poking around for a while, and had yet to manage mutual fertilization when we (reluctantly) moved on.
Some of you might have found, that after a hundred dives or more, that although you still enjoy reefs, or fish, or the ‘prettiness’ of being underwater, that other aspects of the marine world take your fancy. I have zoomed in on macro life, and relish the challenge of finding tiny critters on a sandy bottom. And for the things that are a bit bigger, behaviour starts to catch your eye…
…who am I kidding? It’s all about the smurf penis.
The Disposable Penises of a Nudibranch.
Little did I know, when I shot this critter, that it had a kinky talent of regeneration.
I say ‘it’, because nudibranchs are simultaneous hermaphrodites. During mating, the pair will impregnate each other. With the penis location on the right side, when the nudibranchs line up, they can inseminate themselves at the same time. The act takes anywhere from a few seconds, to a few minutes.
Post-coital observations (for Science) showed that as the nudibranches pushed away from each other, they ‘shed’ their penises.
In less than 24 hours, however, the nudibranchs had regenerated their penises and were able to mate again.
Apparently the reason for this being that a large amount of the penis is stored coiled up in a spiral inside their bodies, used to replace the missing part.
So what’s the advantage?
The researchers say that in the first act of copulation the penis may be used to remove any sperm left by any competitors that its partner has mated with.
With the first penis and the rival sperm then abandoned, the second penis can be used to inject the sea slug with another dose of its own sperm, ensuring that their genes are the ones that are passed on.
Photo: Samantha Craven
Journal Article: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/9/2/20121150
White-tip reef sharks having at it! Not to be pervy or anything but…check out his claspers!
Bite marks on adult female white sharks while at Guadalupe Island are a good clue that these sharks may be mating while at the coastal aggregation sites. This female, named Honey, was first sighted at Guadalupe in 2004 and she was estimated to be over 16 feet (4.8m).
… Some like it rough… if I was her, I think I would have kicked him out of bed!!
Australian photographer Jason Edwards, who took the images off Tonga, was stunned by the “brief but tender” copulation.
While humpback “heat runs” - in which 15m-long, 40-tonne males fight to win a female’s attention - have been well documented, and often wrongly described as mating, this is the first time the actual act of copulation has been photographed, the National Geographic Channel said.
“It was amazing. There were four or five males vying for her attention and while the larger ones were busy jostling each other, the smallest one swam away with the female,” Mr Edwards said yesterday.
“Their coupling lasted less than 30 seconds, which might explain why it’s never been captured on film before.”
Mating Pteraeolidia ianthina’s.
Adult Pteraeolidia are able to consume and harvest microscopic dinoflagellates that were in a previous symbiotic relationship with Pteraeolidia ‘s food, Hydroids. The nudibranch farms these zooxanthellae within its own digestive diverticula.
It is those symbiotic dinoflagellates that give the species such a variety of colours, from brown to blue and purple. Juveniles of the species are white, having not incorporated any zooxanthellae yet.
Photograph by David Doubilet
The bright, contrasting hues of mating nudibranchs—sea slugs found in reefs and the deep ocean—warn potential predators of their venomous, unpalatable flesh. Equipped with both male and female reproductive organs, each nudibranch fertilizes the other, and both produce eggs.
That would be poisonous flesh. Venom has to be injected, poison is ingested.
Let me interpret this figure for you.
“Awww, shit, sup girl? I know you with that big tough-guy consort squid, all mating and all, but lemme just sneak in and pop this packet of super-sperm up near ya mouth while he ain’t looking so I can get my genetic material all replicated … circle of life and shit.”
That’s essentially what’s happening here, down to the sneaking of extra-large sperm near a female’s “sperm-storage organ” near the mouth. Squid are some diabolical little cockblockers, aren’t they? Nature’s infinite mating strategies will never cease to amaze me.
(via Discover Magazine)
Naughty, very naughty.
Mating Grass Hoppers by Jurgen Koch