Video: Oozing Toward Love

Credit: Terence P. T. Ng

If you're a sea snail, finding a date amid the leaves and twisting branches of Hong Kong's mangrove forests is a tricky affair. Fortunately, males of the species Littoraria ardouiniana (shown) and L. melanostoma have hit upon a good solution. During breeding season, the gastropods seem to be able to sniff out the mucus trails left behind by traveling females, researchers report online this month in Animal Behaviour. In the lab, males traced female trails more often than trails lain by other males or females of another species. These slow-moving bloodhounds (the video depicts snails moving at four times their normal speed) may be picking up on as-of-yet undiscovered pheromones in the females' mucus, the team says, hinting at a possible new Chanel fragrance: Eau du Ooze.

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