Slime can trigger an immediate ewwwww! reaction, but ooey gooey slime is actually a rather brilliant, problem solving substance. One of the animals that depends on its slime can be found among the gigantic redwood forests of California, and stands out like a bright flower… or really more like a banana. This is Deep Look‘s Banana Slugs and Secret of the Slime:

Banana slugs are important members of the redwood forest community, even if they aren’t the most exalted. They eat animal droppings, leaves and other detritus on the forest floor, and then generate waste that fertilizes new plants. Being slugs, they don’t move very quickly, and without a shell, they need other protection to keep themselves from becoming food and then fertilizer. Their main defense: slime.

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Slime or mucus is a liquid crystal — a goo that’s between liquids and solids — and it’s as useful for the Banana Slug as it is for our own bodies. Yep! We can learn more about our mouth, nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract by watching slugs drag slimy paths across the forest floor.

Be sure to read more at the always excellent KQED.org.

We love Deep Look, and for more slugs, watch The anatomy of a slug.

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