Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Female marine snails trick amorous males

Date:
September 14, 2010
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Sexual conflict is not only a human phenomenon. Scientists in Sweden have shown that females of the rough periwinkle conceal their gender identity in order to avoid excessive copulation.

The photograph shows two marine snails from the Littorina saxatilis species mating.
Credit: Patrik Larsson

Sexual conflict is not only a human phenomenon. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg have shown that females of the rough periwinkle conceal their gender identity in order to avoid excessive copulation.

Related Articles


The females of most species of snail excrete a substance in their mucous trails that enables males to find them more easily, since they can distinguish between trails from females and those from other males. The males follow the mucous trails laid down by females in order to find a partner for mating. However, the females of one of the species studied (Littorina saxatilis) have stopped labelling their mucous trails.

Males must search twice as long

"The consequence of this for the females is that they copulate less frequently, since the males often follow the trails of other males and must therefore spend twice as long looking for a female. This may appear strange at first sight, since we expect it to be in the females' interests to mate. But we show that copulation is costly for the females and that they already achieve more copulation than is required to fertilise all of their eggs," says Kerstin Johannesson, professor of marine ecology.

Scientists at Tjärnö have shown in a previous study that a snail may carry offspring that result from copulation with at least 20 males.

Less sex is beneficial for the females

The scientists have now been able to show that evolution has favoured those females who can conceal their gender identity. Females who can mask their trails copulate significantly less often than other females and thus have a greater chance of surviving.

"It is beneficial for males to mate as often as possible, since this is the only way in which they can influence the number of offspring they father. But it is costly for the females to mate often, and this is important for them in surviving during the period they are carrying offspring."

A situation in which individuals of different gender have conflicting interests is known as a "sexual conflict." Such conflicts can arise in various situations, and this is one of few examples of a sexual conflict in which the females attempt to conceal their gender. There are some other examples, including certain species of damselfly in which some of the females conceal their gender, simply by having the same colouring as the males.

The study of the remarkable behaviour of the rough periwinkle has been carried out by Kerstin Johannesson in collaboration with Sara Saltin, Iris Duranovic, Jon Havenhand and Per Jonsson at the Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kerstin Johannesson, Sara H. Saltin, Iris Duranovic, Jon N. Havenhand, Per R. Jonsson, Neil John Gemmell. Indiscriminate Males: Mating Behaviour of a Marine Snail Compromised by a Sexual Conflict? PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (8): e12005 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012005

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Female marine snails trick amorous males." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100913080823.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2010, September 14). Female marine snails trick amorous males. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100913080823.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Female marine snails trick amorous males." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100913080823.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) — A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — A 20-year-old competition surfer said on Thursday he accidentally stepped on a shark's head before it bit him off the Australian east coast. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic has seen Senegal and Guinea Bissau close its borders with Guinea and the economic consequences have started to be felt, especially in Fouta Djallon, where the renowned potato industry has been hit hard. Duration: 02:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) — Just in time for Halloween, a glowing flower goes on display in Tokyo. Instead of sorcery and magic, its creators used science to genetically modify the flower, adding a naturally fluorescent plankton protein to its genetic mix. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins