animal kingdom

Watch: ‘Love darts’ and the somewhat strange sex life of the snail

Definitely one of nature’s most unusual mating practices.

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The sex life of a snail is anything but ordinary.

It’s more of a battle which involves sharp, sword-like weapons called “love darts”, which are stabbed into one others’ bodies while mating.

This strange behaviour in gastropods is actually a battle over fatherhood. Most snails are hermaphrodites, producing sperms like males and carrying eggs like females at the same time.

Still, given a choice, a snail prefers fatherhood, an easier role in the process of reproduction. And so the battle with their mating partner, to establish that role

The dangerous yet essential process takes place after a series of movements and attitudes in what is called courtship or the mating dance, and before mating actually takes place.

Barry Roth, an independent snail and slug consultant in San Francisco, tells KQED Science that the courtship helps decide this key question. “Who’s going to be male? Who’s going to be female? Or is it going to be shared?”

“Love darts” are found in sexually mature animals only. Made of calcium, they are covered with mucus that contains a type of hormones capable of increasing the chances of success at having offspring.

This process can last between two and twelve hours for the creatures, who often rely on their sense of smell and touch to compensate for poor eyesight and lack of hearing.

The short movie above from the KQED Science documentary series Deep Look offers an ultra high definition preview into one of nature’s most unusual mating practices.

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These GIFs show you what it means to miss breakfast

That monstrous roar is your empty stomach.

Let’s take a glance at your every day morning routine. You crawl out of bed, go for a quick shower, pull out and wear your neatly ironed clothes at the speed of light and then rush out of the house, making sure you have your keys and wallet in place.

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You walk into office, relieved because you have made it to work on time. Stifling yawns and checking emails, you wonder how your colleagues are charged up and buzzing with energy. “What is wrong with these people” you mumble to yourself.

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Slowly, you start to change. You start snapping at colleagues and start arguing with your computer. You take out your frustration on anything or anyone in sight.

To add to the aggressive behaviour, you’ve completely lost your focus. After some time, you simply forget what you were doing.

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Unable to bear the hunger pangs, you go for a mid-morning snack. It is only when a colleague asks you for a bite do you realize that you have developed into a fully formed, hunger fueled, monster. Try not to look at yourself in the mirror.

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If only you had spared not even twenty or ten but just 5 minutes in the morning and not skipped breakfast, your story would look completely different - as you will see in this video.

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The fast dip in your mood and lack of focus is because your body has missed its most important meal of the day – breakfast. Research has shown that skipping a meal, especially in the morning, worsens the mood because there is a drop in the blood sugar. This in turn affects the levels of serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals produced in the brain that control our moods and feelings. In simpler English, not having breakfast is going to make you really cranky and confused!

Morning is also when the body needs maximum nutrition to function efficiently through the day as you’ve just woken up from a full 7 hours of no food (and if you’re sleeping less than that, that’s a whole other article).

So in short, having a breakfast could make you go from looking like the earlier GIFs to this:

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But with changing lifestyles and most people hard pressed for time, a healthy breakfast is taking the backseat. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. MTR has come up with a range of widely loved Indian delicacies like Poha, Upma and Halwa which can be made in (hold you breath) just 3 minutes! All you have to do is add hot water and wait for 3 minutes to get a delicious and filling breakfast.

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These amazing and delicious breakfasts can be made in a jiffy and consumed with the least hassle, even in the midst of your frenetic morning routine. So grab your #MTRbreakfastin3 to start the day on an awesome note.

Click here to make breakfast a part of your morning routine.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of MTR and not by the Scroll editorial team.