Random mating with respect to mating status in the simultaneously hermaphroditic land snail Arianta arbustorum

Ellen M. Haeussler, Denes Schmera, Anette Baur, Bruno Baur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


In promiscuous species with sperm storage, males are expected to show a preference for mating with virgin and young females to reduce the risk of sperm competition. In the simultaneous hermaphrodite land snail Arianta arbustorum, sperm production precedes egg production by 2-4 weeks, resulting in a short period of protandric hermaphroditism before shell growth is completed. In natural populations, copulating pairs involving individuals which have not yet completed shell growth (virgins) have been observed. We ran a series of mate-choice experiments to examine whether virgin and nonvirgin (experienced) individuals of A. arbustorum discriminate between virgin and nonvirgin mating partners. We also assessed the number of sperm delivered to partners with different mating status. Neither virgin nor nonvirgin snails showed any preference for mating with a virgin partner. In all test situations mating was random and the number of sperm delivered was not adjusted to the mating status of the partner. Mating success was mainly determined by the activity of the individual. The random mating pattern does not imply random fertilization of eggs because the presence of a sperm-digesting organ and the morphology of the sperm storage organ allow a selective storage and use of sperm in A. arbustorum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalInvertebrate Reproduction and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 3 2014


  • mate choice
  • mate recognition
  • mating behavior
  • preference
  • sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology

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