• Littoraria ;
  • reproduction;
  • size-assortative mating;
  • spawning


Previous studies on the reproductive biology of littorinid snails have focused on rocky shore species, investigating how these gastropods can achieve maximal reproductive success, as well as on processes of sexual selection. This study documented differences in the reproductive traits of two mangrove-dwelling littorinids, Littoraria ardouiniana and L. melanostoma, in Hong Kong. Reproductive activity of both species was most intense during the summer months. Mating pairs of the two species generally occurred in the tree canopies. Few false mating pairs (same sex or heterospecific pairs: <10%) were recorded, and members of both species showed size-assortative mating. Littoraria ardouiniana had a shorter reproductive season but a higher intensity of mating and higher seasonal fecundity, than did L. melanostoma. Members of both species showed bi-lunar periodicities of egg or larval release, synchronized with spring tides. Fecundity showed a strong positive relationship with body size in L. ardouiniana, but not in L. melanostoma. Females of L. ardouiniana released entire broods of larvae in a single brief event, whereas females of L. melanostoma released fewer eggs over 1–8 d. Release of larvae in L. ardouiniana involved a series of short bursts and was much faster than the trickle release of eggs in L. melanostoma. The contrasting reproductive traits in these two species represent different strategies to optimize reproductive success in mangrove habitats.