Monday, March 20, 2006

I've got your love dart right here, baby...

Snail Slimy "Love" Darts.

Taking a cue from Cupid, male snails fire slimy "love darts" that increase their chances of fathering little snails.

"Snails that hit their partners with a dart are able to father more babies," explains Ronald Chase of McGill University in Montreal.

The so-called love darts are wielded by a number of molluscs, including the brown garden snail (Cantareus aspersus) where it sits on the right side of its body, adjacent to a mucus-producing gland.

Chase and Blanchard found the mucus appears to cause certain ducts in the females to contract, and they think this could stop the delivery of the enzymes that digest the sperm. But the substance within the mucus that does this remains a mystery.


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