Aspects of body size and mate choice in the simultaneously hermaphroditic pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis

in Animal Biology
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Abstract

Body size can be a good indicator of the quality of a potential mate in terms of fecundity. In many hermaphrodites, egg production is positively correlated with body size. Especially when donating sperm is costly, a preference for larger partners might be expected. Here we test this prediction for the great pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. As expected, we find a clear effect of body size on egg production, and show that shell height can be used as a reliable predictor of body size. Additionally, behavioural observations reveal that these snails are not physically limited in mating with a much larger or smaller partner. Nonetheless, both in a choice experiment as well as in spontaneous copulations, we find no evidence of mate choice based on body size. These results contribute to a growing field of research which attempts to understand the evolution of the wide variation in the ways that hermaphroditic species respond to the size of potential mating partners.

Aspects of body size and mate choice in the simultaneously hermaphroditic pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis

in Animal Biology

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