While reading one of my favourite series of books with my kid last night, I was reminded again of just how fascinated I am by slugs. So I wanted to learn a little bit more about the slippery stuff that oozes out of their squishy, slimy bodies. And what I discovered is pretty cool.
And by “cool,” I mean downright freaking incredible. Because get this.
Slug slime is a liquid crystal. See—I told you—cool.
Slime, or mucus (similar to the stuff found in your body), is somewhere between a liquid and a solid. Sure, it flows a little like a liquid. But when you take a closer look—like a super-duper closer look at the molecular level—it’s organized in a crystal-like way. I’m no scientist, and certainly not smart enough to explain exactly how liquid crystal works in detail, so here—read it straight from some experts instead.
Because it has the properties of both a crystal solid and a liquid, slug slime is able to act as both an adhesive and a lubricant. Sticky and flexible!
Slugs use all this gooey goodness for just about everything—to move, climb, eat, mate, communicate, and protect themselves from predators.
And now, scientists are using slug slime as inspiration to develop a super-strong surgical glue.
Super slugs—and science—to the rescue!