Strange species: snail's "Arrow of Love" hides the opportunity to kill
Strange species: snail's "Arrow of Love" hides the opportunity to kill
Unexpectedly, the "French snail" on the table still has such a rugged mating.

when the ancient Greeks imagined Cupid's arrow, we didn't know if they had observed the sex of snails. About nine families of snails and land slugs release arrows called "love arrows" during mating, piercing each other's bodies and sometimes even into each other's heads by mistake.

the snail protrudes its body's love arrow

Photo: wikipedia

the brown garden snail (Cantareus asperses, also known as Helix aspersa), which the French often use for cooking, is a kind of snail with Cupid's arrow. After about half an hour of mating, one partner will release the lover and cut half into the other's flesh. 25 minutes later, the "arrows" will also release Lianya. The arrow can be stuck in the body for hours, and the snail doesn't seem to feel any pain.

the Cornu aspersum with love arrow tied on its body is considered by some classifications to be of the same species as C. asperses

Photo Source: the love arrow of wikipedia

snail is quite hard and various in shape, some are pointed cone shape, some are knife blade shape, some are arrow head shape, and some have blood trough-like grooves to facilitate the injection of secretions.

an arrowhead

Photo Source: wikipedia

multiple shapes

Photo Source: Joris M. Koene Vrije Universiteit

because it is made up of crystalline calcium carbonate, it was once thought to be a way to supplement calcium to a spouse. But the truth is much crueler than that. The secretions dipped in the snail's mucous glands on the arrow have the ability to control each other's physiological activities, which has the advantage of improving their chances of becoming a father. Brown garden snails can double the number of fertilized eggs after stabbing each other with love sagitts (snails are hermaphroditic, so during mating, each side releases eggs and fertilizes each other).

oddly enough, more than 99% of the sperm received by the snail is destroyed by itself. The following picture shows the reproductive system of a snail. The brown ball at the upper right, connected by a thin tube, is called the mating capsule (bursa copulatrix). It secretes enzymes that break down sperm. The goal of the sperm is to reach the reproductive pore (genital pore) in the lower right corner. But between the thin, long appendix-shaped diverticulum (diverticulum) on the left and the tube leading to the mating sac, most of the sperm is destroyed by the enzyme. The snail may use this method to select the best sperm, and the bad sperm will be digested.

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Snail's reproductive system

photographer: Lodi & Koene

after the vector is inserted, the "medicine" under the snail will have an effect, contract the muscles near the diverticulum and tube, close the way to the mating sac, and prevent the enzyme from flowing to sperm. So that more sperm can survive, thereby increasing the number of their offspring.

what is more spicy is that some of the substances used by snails to control each other are poisonous and can harm each other's body. After being stabbed by the love arrow, the number of eggs laid at a time by Bradybaena pellucida will drop from more than 130 to less than 100, and the lifespan will also be shortened. If the mating snail is not "stabbed", it can live for nearly 100 days at most, and only 80 days at most after being stabbed.

snails that are "stabbed" lay fewer eggs and have lower fertility, but snails that pierce the arrow can increase their chances of fertilization and thus increase their total benefits. All in all, although the cake became smaller, the selfish snail got a bigger piece from the small cake.

question picture: pexels

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