Effects of frequent mating on sex allocation in the simultaneously hermaphroditic great pond snail (Lymnaea stagnalis).

J.M. Koene, K Montagne-Wajer, A. ter Maat

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Simultaneous hermaphrodites have the opportunity to control the allocation of resources to the male and female function depending on the circumstances. Such flexibility also provides the possibility to influence sex allocation in the mating partner. To investigate this idea, we measured egg production (female investment) and sperm production as well as prostate gland size (both are part of male investment) under different mating regimes in the great pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. We find no evidence for the prediction from sex allocation theory that sperm production increases with mating frequency. However, we do find that animals with more mating opporunities develop smaller prostate glands, in which seminal fluid is produced. Moreover, repeated mating increases egg production, thus shifting allocation towards the female function, and probably decreases growth. So, our data hint at a three-way trade-off between part of the male function (prostate gland), female function, and growth. Interestingly, sex allocation seems to be shifted in the opposite direction from the one predicted by theory. We discuss how this feminization is suggestive of a direct manipulation by the sperm donor, probably to stimulate immediate sperm use. © Springer-Verlag 2006.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-338
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume60
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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