19 September 2008

How a glaring error of mine was corrected a year later

Back in August 2007 I wrote this post about mating slugs. Yesterday it came to my attention that someone on flickr was using a portion of that post (with a link to my blog) to illustrate a great picture of mating Arion.

I send the link to the picture to some friends. A few hours later, one of them, Tim Pearce, responded with his "peer review":

The description says "... and spermathecas are exchanged." Ouch! The spermatheca is part of the anatomy. The description probably meant spermatophores are exchanged.
Ouch indeed! It was, of course, my mistake and no other reader, including myself, had noticed it until Tim saw it.

I quickly corrected my post and then notified the photographer of the picture on flickr. The caption on flickr has since been corrected also.

The spermatheca (also called the bursa copulatrix) is an organ that can't be exchanged, while a spermatophore is a packet of sperm that is given to a slug's (or a snail's) partner during mating and may or may not be stored in the spermatheca. I often confuse the 2 terms, spermatheca and spermatophore. I think I will be more careful about their proper usage from now on.

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