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The Leopard Slug

Benjamin C. Krause

Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow.

Limax maximus, the leopard slug, exhibits the most interesting and peculiar mating behavior in the animal kingdom. The two hermaphroditic slugs dance in circles for hours, their tongues caressing each other, then climb a nearby tree and crawl out onto a branch.

From a rope of mucus secreted by their bodies, they lower themselves several inches below the branch and extend their enormous phalli, which entwine together, creating something like an orb that hangs from the tree.

The slugs simultaneously implant their semen in each other, and both will become pregnant. Their phalli then recede back into their bodies and the slugs separate to lay their eggs, which will number in the hundreds.


1. Based on this passage, which of the following sentences best describes the attitude of the leopard slug toward its partner?

(A) The slug is enamored, but afraid of loss.
(B) The slug sees its partner as inferior, but
     seeks to change it into an equal.
(C) The slug appears indifferent, but possesses
     a deep respect of which it cannot speak.
(D) The slug is settling for someone who is
     available, rather than someone it loves.


2. What is the most likely reason this passage was written?

(A) The author has not had sex with his wife in
     months.
(B) The author is overly attached to his mother.
(C) The author secretly desires to be a
     hermaphrodite himself.
(D) The author is building an army of slugs to
     punish the people who called him a nerd
     in middle school.


3. What function does the final paragraph serve?

(A) It exposes the author's deep-seeded desire
     to reproduce.
(B) It demonstrates the universal need to be
     loved among all of creation.
(C) It tragically ends the freedom of two
     previously independent slugs.
(D) It is a post-modern paragraph and need not
     have a clear-cut purpose. It's just there to be
     appreciated, like a cat.


4. Are you talking about the paragraph still, or about this poem?

(A) Nothing is as obvious as it seems.
(B) I refuse to answer this question on the
     suspicion that you are a pederast.
(C) I am talking about nothing, but also about
     everything important.
(D) You are dreaming. Wake up—

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