Female marine snails trick amorous males

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

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Life Sciences

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Climate change drives plants to extinction in the Black Forest in Germany

Climate change is leaving its mark on the bog complexes of the German Black Forest. Due to rising temperatures and longer dry periods, two plant species have already gone extinct…

The paradox of quantum forces in nanodevices

Researchers proposed a new approach to describe the interaction of metals with electromagnetic fluctuations (i.e., with random bursts of electric and magnetic fields). Researchers from Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic…

Seasonal Forecasts Improve Food Supply

EU project CONFER started – precipitation forecasts reduce the impacts of droughts and floods in East Africa. Developing more precise seasonal forecasts to improve food supply for a total of…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close