Disentangling female postmating responses induced by semen transfer components in a simultaneous hermaphrodite

Léa Daupagne, Joris M. Koene*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Optimizing reproductive success is an essential part of evolution for both sexes. Females can optimize mating by avoiding superfluous mating advances and insemination, since both take time away from other activities and may incur costs related to sperm receipt. While many separate-sexed organisms are known to exhibit mate avoidance, much less is known about this for simultaneous hermaphrodites. We addressed this here, using a simultaneously hermaphroditic species that can choose to mate in either of the two sex roles during each mating interaction. Recently, avoidance behaviours in response to natural matings were observed in the hermaphroditic pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis, potentially deterring insemination. To disentangle whether such behaviours are mediated by the mechanical act of mating or the receipt of accessory gland proteins and/or sperm, we intravaginally injected individuals with control or test fluids. Our results show that the avoidance behaviours, crawl-out and biting, were more frequently expressed when individuals were inseminated with accessory gland proteins and/or sperm. These behavioural components of the recipient increased time in courtship prior to insemination, which is concordant with the hypothesis that the partner tries to discourage the potential sperm donor from inseminating. Understanding the mechanism underlying the effects that molluscan accessory gland proteins induce contributes to our understanding of the molecular basis of the recipient's (behavioural) responses as well as how such biochemical postcopulatory strategies evolve.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-152
    Number of pages6
    JournalAnimal Behaviour
    Early online date11 Jul 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


    • ACP
    • evasion
    • mollusc
    • pulmonate
    • seminal fluid protein
    • sexual conflict
    • sexual selection
    • SFP


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