Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Female marine snails trick amorous males

13.09.2010
Sexual conflict is not only a human phenomenon. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg have shown that females of the rough periwinkle conceal their gender identity in order to avoid excessive copulation.

The females of most species of snail excrete a substance in their mucous trails that enables males to find them more easily, since they can distinguish between trails from females and those from other males. The males follow the mucous trails laid down by females in order to find a partner for mating. However, the females of one of the species studied (Littorina saxatilis) have stopped labelling their mucous trails.

Males must search twice as long
"The consequence of this for the females is that they copulate less frequently, since the males often follow the trails of other males and must therefore spend twice as long looking for a female. This may appear strange at first sight, since we expect it to be in the females' interests to mate. But we show that copulation is costly for the females and that they already achieve more copulation than is required to fertilise all of their eggs", says Kerstin Johannesson, professor of marine ecology.

Scientists at Tjärnö have shown in a previous study that a snail may carry offspring that result from copulation with at least 20 males.

Less sex is beneficial for the females
The scientists have now been able to show that evolution has favoured those females who can conceal their gender identity. Females who can mask their trails copulate significantly less often than other females and thus have a greater chance of surviving.

"It is beneficial for males to mate as often as possible, since this is the only way in which they can influence the number of offspring they father. But it is costly for the females to mate often, and this is important for them in surviving during the period they are carrying offspring."

A situation in which individuals of different gender have conflicting interests is known as a "sexual conflict". Such conflicts can arise in various situations, and this is one of few examples of a sexual conflict in which the females attempt to conceal their gender. There are some other examples, including certain species of damselfly in which some of the females conceal their gender, simply by having the same colouring as the males.

The study of the remarkable behaviour of the rough periwinkle has been carried out by Kerstin Johannesson in collaboration with Sara Saltin, Iris Duranovic, Jon Havenhand and Per Jonsson at the Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg.

The study – Indiscriminate Males: Mating Behavior of a Marine Snail Compromised by a Sexual Conflict? – has been published in the web-based scientific journal PLoS ONE.

Link to the study:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012005
Contact:
Professor Kerstin Johannesson, Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg
Tel: +46 (0)526 68611
Mobile: +46 (0)73 086 0219
kerstin.johannesson@marecol.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012005

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>