One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there! Today, Sunday, is our day off for good behavior from the Blogging A To Z Challenge. So today, as usual, you get your mystery! It’s warm enough we’re starting to see these shiny little trails again. Er, perhaps that’s the first part of your Sunday challenge: find the shiny trails I’m talking about. They are inbetween the fungus.

mystery # 50

Give me a guess for what makes these.

~~~

Uh, oh, breaking news. An alert reader–thanks, Bill!–just told us it’s Squirrel Week! A week! This celebration is happening in DC, courtesy of columnist John Kelly. Check out his article in The Washington Post. Our flying squirrel cousins are so clever! (And I’m only a little bit jealous about those flights.) The #squirrelweek twitter feed has more great links, so join in with your favorites!

I see we already have one guess in for the mystery, but thanks to clever wording–do you have flying squirrels in your ancestry, Sarasinart?–it’s still a mystery! Back with you later for the answer.

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These shiny trails are slime laid down by slugs. A slug’s body is mostly water and they have to protect themselves as they travel. The ground would dry them out! So their belly foot produces mucus as it slides along. But wait! This isn’t just a throwaway trail. When a slug crosses another mucus trail, it can tell if the other slug is of the same species or not…and if so, may venture after it to find a mate.

Ha. How’s that for a springtime mystery! By the way, this is our 50th mystery since starting The Squirrel Nutwork! Thanks for making it a popular column.

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