By Emily Senger - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 0 Comments
A type of sea slug found in the Pacific Ocean is able to remove…
A type of sea slug found in the Pacific Ocean is able to remove its own penis after mating and then grow a new one, potentially to increase its chances of mating multiple times, scientists have learned.
In a study, which was published in Royal Society’s journal Biology Letters, Japanese researchers observed Chromodoris reticulata, as the little guys are known, and found that they removed their penises after disengaging from their mating partner.
“The act took between a few seconds and a few minutes, after which the creatures would push away and shed their penises, leaving them on the floor of the tank,” explains BBC News.
The slugs are also capable of storing sperm from several mates. Ayami Sekizawa, a researcher at Osaka City University in Japan, told National Geographic that removing the penis from the mate before shedding it means the slug would still be able to reject other mates’ sperm. “If the sea slug left the penis in the mating partner’s female organ, it could not remove sperm of preceding mates,” Sekizawa told National Geographic.
When researchers studied the discarded penises, they also found that sperm had been entrapped in backward-facing spines on the discarded organs. This could mean the slugs used the spines on their penises to, potentially, remove the sperm belonging other competing slugs.
Once a penis was discarded, the slugs could grow a new penis back in less than 24 hours. But the scientists also found that the animals could only do the deed three times, with the 24-hour waiting periods in between to grow back a new penis.
Another fun fact: the Chromodoris reticulata is a hermaphrodite; it has both male and female sex organs, which can be used simultaneously.
By Emily Senger - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 4:07 PM - 0 Comments
Discovery Channel releases never-seen-before footage of eight-metre sea creature
The giant squid, once only the stuff of sea legends, has been caught on film deep within the Pacific Ocean for the first time ever.
The squid, which is up to eight meters long, was filmed by a team of Japanese scientists and the Japanese public broadcaster, which was working with the U.S. Discovery Channel. The footage was captured about 1,000 kilometres off the coast of Japan, in the Pacific Ocean. It will air on the Discovery program Curiosity on Jan. 27 in an episode called: “Monster Squid: The Giant is Real.”
Though Discovery Channel made the announcement that it had secured the footage in December, actual footage was released to news outlets this week, including these images:
And this video, included in a clip from ABC News:
The footage came only after the crew had done about 100 missions, totalling 400 hours, in a cramped submarine.
Giant squids live alone and Japanese scientist Tsunemi Kubodera says, in a clip posted at The Guardian, that the squid caught on film looked “like it was rather lonely” when he saw it.
Kubodera was part of a team that captured a female giant squid in 2006. That squid was seven metres long and died after it was captured.