The outcome of sperm competition is affected by behavioural and anatomical reproductive traits in a simultaneously hermaphroditic land snail


Alexandra Staikou, School of Biology, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece.
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Sperm competition is important in species with reproductive strategies that involve multiple mating and prolonged sperm storage such as the simultaneously hermaphroditic land snail Cornu aspersum. Double mating trials in this species have revealed that mating order and courtship behaviour affect paternity success. We investigated the effect of behavioural and anatomical reproductive traits on paternity success from triple mating trials. Triple mating resulted in triple fertilization in 58% of the cases whereas zero paternity was observed in 16% of sperm donors. Third sperm donors achieved higher paternity followed by first and second sperm donors. Snails with a longer epiphallus, the spermatophore forming organ, sired more offspring regardless of their mating order. Genetic compatibility between sperm donor and recipient did not influence paternity success. The results of the present study identified mating order and epiphallus length, as traits affecting the outcome of sperm competition in this species.