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Mating behaviour of the marine snail Littoraria flava (Mollusca: Caenogastropoda) on a boulder shore of south-east Brazil
Cardoso, R.S.; Costa, D.S.; Loureiro, V.F. (2007). Mating behaviour of the marine snail Littoraria flava (Mollusca: Caenogastropoda) on a boulder shore of south-east Brazil. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 87(4): 947-952.
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Cardoso, R.S.
  • Costa, D.S.
  • Loureiro, V.F.

    The mating pattern of Littoraria flava, a typical grazer snail of the supralittoral zone and sometimes the midlittoral zone of boulder shores in tropical and sub-tropical regions, was examined to determine the occurrence of size-assortative mating and sexual selection on size. We also evaluated its reproductive behavioural mechanisms, as well as their implications for the evolution of the species. The population was investigated from May 2001 through April 2002, on an artificial rocky shore composed of a boulder wall at Flexeira Beach, Itacuruça Island, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (22°56?S 43°53'W). The current study showed that: (1) copulating pairs were observed only from November through March, indicating seasonal reproduction of the population; (2) linear correlation between sizes of copulating mates were weak but significant, characterizing assortative mating by size; (3) there was sexual selection for female size, i.e. large females were favoured as mating partners over small ones; however, sexual selection on size was not observed among males; (4) there were significant positive correlations between male and female shell sizes and the copulation time; (5) there were significant differences in copulation time among different types of copulating pairs; and (6) mating females were significantly larger than non-mating females, while there were no differences between the sizes of mating and non-mating males, indicating differential sexual selection between sexes. These findings may contribute to the evolution of sexual dimorphism in this species. Male choice behaviour plausibly explains the assortative mating and sexual selection on female size of Littoraria flava. As males chose larger mates because they benefit reproductively therefore large females have increased chances of mating and fertilization (sexual selection for size). Further evidence suggests that large females are more successful than small females in carrying out mating, because large females remain in copulation for a longer time than do small females.

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