Sperm storage in the simultaneously hermaphroditic land snail Arianta arbustorum

Authors

  • Nenad C. Bojat,

    1. Department of Integrative Biology, Section of Conservation Biology, University of Basel, St Johanns-Vorstadt 10, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland
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  • Martin Haase

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Integrative Biology, Section of Conservation Biology, University of Basel, St Johanns-Vorstadt 10, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland
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*All correspondence to: Martin Haase, NIWA, Gate 10, Silverdale Road, Box 11-115, Hamilton, New Zealand E-mail: M.Haase@niwa.cri.nz

Abstract

Many simultaneously hermaphroditic land snails have sperm digesting glands and multiple sperm storage organs, which it is suggested give the sperm recipient control over the number of sperm accepted and hence fertilization. In order to increase fertilization success, the sperm donor should manipulate the recipient to accept more sperm, especially so in situations of sperm competition. In helicid snails, the love dart optionally pushed into the partner's body during courtship, has been suggested to be such a manipulative tool. We investigated the influence of the sperm donor's size, sperm volume transferred and dart pushing on the volume of allosperm stored by the recipient in virgin Arianta arbustorum. In addition, we were interested in sperm storage patterns within the spermathecae. Fifty per cent of the snails already possessed a dart and tried to use it. However, most of them missed the partner. The main tubule always contained more than 50% of the total amount of sperm stored. Otherwise sperm storage patterns were very variable. The volume of sperm stored was significantly influenced only by the number of spermathecal tubules. The significance of spermathecal morphology for sperm storage needs further exploration.

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