Shell shape and mating behaviour in pulmonate gastropods (Mollusca)
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Biological journal of the Linnean Society. - London
, p. 306-321
University of Antwerp
Previous work suggests that low-spired hermaphroditic snails mate face-to-face and have reciprocal sperm exchange, whereas high-spired snails mate by shell mounting and have unilateral sperm exchange. This dichotomy lead others to speculate on the evolution of enigmatic mating behaviours and whole-body enantiomorphy. In the present study, we review the current literature on mating behaviour in pulmonate snails and show that: (1) several pulmonate species show considerable intraspecific variation in mating behaviour; (2) mating position does not predict reciprocity of penis intromission and sperm exchange; (3) dart-shooting may be correlated with reciprocity of sperm exchange but other factors must explain the gain or loss of darts; (4) it is unlikely that the degree of reciprocity is the most important factor in explaining the relationship of whole-body enantiomorphy and shell shape; and (5) the reciprocal intromission of penises does not necessarily involve the reciprocal transfer of sperm. Hence, our survey shows that current ideas on the evolutionary relationship between shell shape and reciprocity with sexual selection (including dart-use) and whole-body enantiomorphy in hermaphroditic snails should be refined. The results obtained demonstrate that our current knowledge on gastropod mating behaviour is too limited to detect general evolutionary trajectories in gastropod mating behaviour and genital anatomy.