Selfing and brooding in Alinda biplicata (Gastropoda: Pulmonata: Clausiliidae) – life history traits of a good coloniser

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Alinda biplicata is capable of uniparental reproduction (selfing). The snails need 18 to 24 weeks to reach their ultimate size, and the first reproduction takes place 26 to 39 weeks after shell growth completion. Besides giving birth to juveniles, which is typical of A. biplicata (39% of litters), the uniparentally reproducing individuals laid egg batches (38%) as well as mixed batches (eggs and juveniles; 23%). Within a few days the eggs decomposed, and in mixed batches they were often consumed by the accompanying neonates. In the next season, 70% of the remaining 20 snails reproduced (all of which had reproduced in the previous season). In the first season the neonate:egg proportion was 54:46, in the second 74:26. The egg-laying should be regarded as an anomaly – getting rid of eggs which were not fertilised or in which embryos died at early cleavage stages. The combination of selfing and brooding may explain the wide distribution and wide range of habitats occupied by A. biplicata.

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Figures

  • (A-B) Proportion of reproducing and not reproducing individuals of Alinda biplicata in consecutive years. In case of reproducing snails: proportion of individuals producing only eggs (e), only juveniles (s), eggs and juveniles (e + s), mixed litters and juveniles (m + s), eggs and mixed litters and juveniles (e + m + s). (C-D) Proportion of reproducing and not reproducing individuals in consecutive months.

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  • Egg batches (A, B), single eggs (C), mixed litters (D, E) and neonate (F) of Alinda biplicata. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

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  • Proportion of batches, mixed litters and juveniles of Alinda biplicata in consecutive months (histogram) with proportion of eggs and juveniles (pie charts). Data are shown for animals from VI 2008-V 2009 (A); VI 2009-V 2010 (B).

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  • Means of growth rate of Alinda biplicata.

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  • Anatomy and histology of the reproductive system of Alinda biplicata. (A) Uterus with eggs; (B) Hermaphroditic gland; (C) Initial part of hermaphroditic duct. Abbreviations: bc, bursa copulatrix; eg, egg; em, embryo; ep, epiphallus; ev, early vitellogenic oocytes; mg, mucus gland; pe, penis; s, spermatozooa; sct, spermatocytes; st, spermatids; vo, vitellogenic oocytes; vd, vas deferens. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

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