Male? Female? or BOTH??

2 December 2010
A hermaphrodite is both male and female – it possesses both male and female reproductive organs. Today’s main subjects are hermaphrodites, illustrated with a brief courtship and mating sequence.

Found a pair of snails in an odd position, with both upside down. At first, I thought they were dead, but on closer observation, they were actually connected by a tendon-like tissue.

These are the Giant African Land Snails (Achatina fulica), or GALS in short. They used to be kept as pets, but are also well known to be serious threats to agricultural fields. As such, it has been deemed illegal to keep them in some countries, such as the USA. (ref)

First, a little diagram to illustrate the parts of a snail!


The penis is normally inverted, and everts out during mating. It emerges from the vagina (!!?!) and both will take on the male and female roles.

Giant African Snails (Achatina fulica) - DSC_9861#1 The connection. Each takes on both the male and female role while mating.

Giant African Snails (Achatina fulica) - DSC_9866#2 Disconnecting when done, one connection left!

Giant African Snails (Achatina fulica) - DSC_9880#3 An intimate moment, I thought they were going through courtship again for round 2! Erection noticed. lol

Giant African Snails (Achatina fulica) - DSC_9889#4 After everything, both stared at me like I’m some sick pervert.. oops

Giant African Snails (Achatina fulica) - DSC_9919#5 I don’t wanna come out!!! (it was actually extending out.. see next pic to see how)

Great African Land Snail (Achatina fulica) - DSC_9918#6 Little animation of the snail extending out from it’s shell

Soldier Fly (Stratiomyidae) - DSC_9782#7 Close up of a handsome Soldier Fly (Stratiomyidae)

Soldier Fly (Stratiomyidae) - DSC_9790#8 And it found some water!

The complete album can be viewed here.



Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

Copyright Notice

All images © 2008-2020 Nicky Bay unless stated otherwise. Reproduction of any content without permission is prohibited. Please read the Image Use Policy and contact [email protected] for licensing requests.

Mailing List

Subscribe to get updates to new posts, stories, workshops and book launches! Your email will never be shared with others.