Resource allocation in a simultaneously hermaphroditic slug with phally polymorphism

  • Jordaens K
  • Van Dongen S
  • Temmerman K
 et al. 
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Abstract

Abstract The theory of resource allocation assumes that a resource not allocated to one function may be reallocated to another. Thus, in hermaphroditic species, an individual that suppresses the use of one sex function may free resources for the other sex function. We determined the relative importance of male copulatory organs in terms of their fraction of the total dry body weight and tested whether in the pulmonate land slug Deroceras laeve (Müller), individuals that lack the male copulatory organs (aphallics) reallocate this resource towards the female structures and/or towards life-history traits. To this end, we raised 13 families under uniparental reproduction and compared growth, length of the juvenile period, number of eggs produced, percentage of hatched eggs and hatching time among a- and euphallics. We also measured the reproductive and sex allocation of all individuals. Six out of 13 families contained no euphallic individuals. In the other seven families, the proportion of euphallic individuals ranged from 0.13 to 0.43. There was an enormous variation in life-history traits and reproductive and sex allocation among individuals, even among individuals of the same family. Allocation to the male function was very low in euphallic slugs (i.e. 1.35% of the total body dry mass and 12.33% of the total reproductive dry mass). Our results did not reveal a reallocation from the lost male function towards the female function, nor towards one of the life-history traits. Finally, we propose a scenario that could explain the maintenance of phally polymorphism in D. laeve. Keywords Deroceras laeve - Energetic costs - Gastropods - Genital polymorphism - Hermaphrodite - Mating systems - Resource allocation - Sex allocation - Slugs

Author-supplied keywords

  • Deroceras laeve
  • Energetic costs
  • Gastropods
  • Genital polymorphism
  • Hermaphrodite
  • Mating systems
  • Resource allocation
  • Sex allocation
  • Slugs

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Authors

  • Kurt Jordaens

  • Stefan Van Dongen

  • Katrien Temmerman

  • Thierry Backeljau

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