Disassociation between weak sexual isolation and genetic divergence in a hermaphroditic land snail and implications about chirality


Sinos Giokas, Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of Biology, University of Patras, 26500 Patras, Greece.
Tel.: +30 2610 969218; fax: +30 2610 969218; e-mail: sinosg@upatras.gr


Examination of the association between reproductive isolation and genetic divergence in a variety of organisms is essential for elucidating the mechanisms causing speciation. However, such studies are lacking for hermaphrodites. We measured premating (sexual) isolation in species pairs of the hermaphroditic land snail Albinaria and we compared it with their genetic divergence. We did not find substantial sexual isolation barriers between the species studied. The absence of strong sexual isolation between species implies its minor effect in the evolution of this genus, because distributional, population and life-history characteristics of Albinaria make mate-choice possibly redundant. Furthermore, we found disassociation between genetic divergence and sexual isolation, suggesting that they do not form necessarily a cause–effect duet. However, Albinaria voithii, the only dextral Albinaria species, shows strong sexual isolation against the other sinistral species. We discuss whether change in coiling either has triggered instantaneous speciation, or is an example of character displacement.