Sluttiest Species Known

April 26, 2010

Torah Kachur

Slut, tramp, harlot, the Periwinkle Sea Snail... these names are the highest form of flattery.


Because the Periwinkle Sea Snail is the most polyandrous species known: for every clutch of baby snails she produces, she will have had sex with at least 19 males.  This is the finding of Kerstin Johanesson from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden – his research group analyzed the DNA of the offspring and determined the paternity a-la-Jerry Springer.


       Periwinkle sea snail Torah Kachur polyandry Mating Science in Seconds

Twenty men per clutch, at least one clutch per year, lifespan of 5-10 years...


That is 200 men, minimum.  Wow.  Impressive.


But why would she sacrifice her purity and grace for a mere extra set of chromosomes?  It isn't really known. The massive promiscuity of these little Jezebels is way more than necessary to ensure genetic diversity in her offspring, something that is often key when discussing polygamous species.


It's probably that she just can't keep her legs shut.  Females don't resist mating with males, they often will even attempt to go about their business while the male is otherwise engaged.  Females don't seek out mates – it's the males that follow a female's mucous trail to mate with her.  Male Periwinkles are the real sex-o-holics. They will mate with anything (or at least try to) regardless of species or even sex.


This passive approach to twenty men per cycle is surprising at the very least.  Except, the apparent receptivity of females is likely because if they resisted, they would have to retreat into their shell, which would also mean potentially losing their grip on the rocks and being swept out to sea. 


So, she has to choose between being a floozy or being lost in the vast ocean.  Well, Periwinkle - I guess I would choose the hard 'place' over the rock too.



Email (optional)


© 2010 Science in Seconds. All rights reserved.     Disclaimer  |  Contact  |  Subscribe
Friend Science in Seconds on Facebook Follow Science in Seconds on Twitter Science in Seconds RSS Feed