- Some slugs are hermaphrodites: Unlike most animals, slugs are hermaphrodites, meaning they possess both male and female reproductive organs. This allows them to mate with any other mature slug they encounter. During mating, slugs exchange sperm, and both individuals can lay eggs afterward.
- Slugs have thousands of teeth: Slugs might not have visible teeth like mammals, but they do possess a structure called a radula. The radula is a ribbon-like structure covered in thousands of tiny, sharp teeth. Slugs use their radula to scrape and shred food, such as leaves and decaying matter, which they then ingest.
- Slugs can self-amputate and regenerate: When faced with danger or when a slug’s body is injured, it has the remarkable ability to self-amputate body parts. Slugs can intentionally detach their own tails or even portions of their bodies as a defense mechanism. These body parts can then regenerate over time, allowing the slug to recover.
- Some slugs are capable of photosynthesis: The green sea slug, also known as Elysia chlorotica, has a fascinating ability to steal and incorporate chloroplasts (the structures responsible for photosynthesis) from the algae it consumes. These stolen chloroplasts continue to function within the slug’s own body, providing it with a source of energy through photosynthesis.
- Slugs can aestivate to survive dry conditions: When faced with dry or unfavorable conditions, certain species of slugs can enter a state of dormancy called aestivation. During aestivation, slugs seal themselves inside a mucous cocoon to prevent water loss and reduce metabolic activity. This adaptation allows them to survive extended periods of drought until favorable conditions return.