Love dart  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A love dart (also known as a gypsobelum) is a sharp, calcareous or chitinous dart which some hermaphroditic land snails and slugs create. Love darts are made in sexually mature animals only, and are used as part of the sequence of events during courtship, before actual mating takes place. Darts are quite large compared to the size of the animal: in the case of the semi-slug genus Parmarion, the length of a dart can be up to one fifth that of the semi-slug's foot.

The Cupid connection

Some writers have commented on the parallel between the love darts of snails and the love darts fired by the mythological being Cupid, known as Eros in Greek mythology. It is even possible that there is a connection between the behavior of the snails and the myth. Malacologist (mollusk expert) Ronald Chase of McGill University said about the garden snail Helix aspersa, "I believe the myth of Cupid and his arrows has its basis in this snail species, which is native to Greece". He added, "The Greeks probably knew about this behavior because they were pretty good naturalists and observers."

In some languages, the dart that these snails use before mating is known as an "arrow". For example, in the German language it is called a Liebespfeil or "love arrow", and in the Czech language it is šíp lásky (which means "arrow of love").




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Love dart" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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