leopard slug penis mating

On Wednesday, avant-garde Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork released a new three-track album called “Arisen My Senses (Remix EP)” that, on May 25, will be available on vinyl. But not just any old vinyl: In the press release for the EP, the cryptocurrency enthusiast said that the record has been pressed on “Slug Genitalia-coloured” vinyl. She offered no other explanation beyond that, but her appreciation for slug biology offers some insights into what she actually means.

First off, she’s probably referring to the creature at the heart of the video for “Arisen My Senses,” off her album Utopia, which was released last year. In the video, Bjork is trapped inside a giant slug-like animal that has all of its hot-pink, undulating bits waggling on display.

slug bjork
Presumably the genitalia of the 'slug' in Bjork's music video for 'Arisen My Senses'.

In an Instagram post teasing the video, posted December 18, 2017, she thanked longtime collaborator Jesse Kanda for his “miraculous slug sculpture.” Hot pink is a fair guess for “slug genitalia color,” but the backstory behind the inspiration for the slug sculpture suggests a different hue.

According to an interview with Kanda on WeTransfer in 2017, Bjork has a great appreciation for slug reproduction. “Björk had been playing a video of leopard slugs mating at her concerts, so I knew she and I both loved that as an image,” he said.

The video of leopard slug (Limax maximus) mating he’s referring to is likely a very popular clip from the BBC series Life in the Undergrowth. It’s an overwhelmingly erotic clip, featuring huge, twirling slugs tangled upside-down in glistening ropes of mucus, slowly wrapping their long penises around one another. Their penises, unlike the genitalia in the “Arisen My Senses” slug sculpture, are electric blue.

The penises are colored blue because of an accumulation of body fluids, the BBC explained in 2015. The penises stick out of the right side of their heads, and because the animals are hermaphrodites, they can fertilize each other’s eggs in this way.

Bjork is far from the only person who has been inspired by the amorous slugs. On YouTube, it is not hard to find edits of the video set to sultry tracks like Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” or “The Humming Song” by Yuka Honda. Even Ben Rowson, Ph.D., the slug expert at the National Museum Wales who spoke about slug sex in the series Nature’s Weirdest Events, said: “Not many people would sign up to watch slugs mating, but once you’ve actually seen it… it is beautiful, it takes a long time and it’s kind of hypnotic and elegant.”

So, our best bet is that it’s electric blue. Or hot pink. It’s hard to say with Bjork: Releasing a press release about slug dicks without any explanation is far from the weirdest thing Bjork has done. Besides, Tristan Schoonraad, who worked on the slug sculptures for the “Arisen My Senses” video, has admitted to WeTransfer that all of the creative license that went into the slug’s creation resulted in something that not exactly a faithful representation of the animal. “Alien,” he said. “Almost like an embryo. Slug’s the wrong word really.”