20 July 2011

A variety of penises

One of the 2 talks I will be presenting at the American Malacological Society meeting next week in Pittsburgh will be about the semi-terrestrial snail Assiminea succinea.

To learn more about the anatomy of Assiminea, I dissected one snail last weekend. It was a male, because it had a penis. To get a good picture of the penis, I removed it from the snail. Here it is.

The picture on the left shows the penis as it was curved while attached to the snail's body. During copulation the penis would be straightened and would look more like the way it does in the picture on the right.

The shell of the snail was 2.31 mm long. So its penis was about half the length of its shell. Talk about a long member.

Then I went thru my papers and found drawings of the penises of several species of Assiminea in a paper by Abbott*. Here they are.

Penis anatomy would definitely be a useful characteristic in a future revision of Assiminea systematics. But, no I don't intend to do that.

*Abbott, R. T. 1958. The gastropod genus Assiminea in the Philippines. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 110:213-278.


Snailbum said...

A while ago I had a query from a correspondent. She was about to make an oral presentation before some group and it involved molluscan anatomy. She had noticed that there are two correct plurals for "penis" -- "penises" and "penes" -- and wondered which one to use. I advised her to use the former, to avoid standing in front of a group and, in effect, saying "peenies." A matter of dignity.

Citizen Stranger said...

wow, next time someone is worried about their size, just let they know that they're at least bigger than a snail....