Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 415–426 | Cite as

Factors affecting fertilization success in two species of patellid limpet (Mollusca: Gastropoda) and development of fertilization kinetics models

  • Alan N. HodgsonEmail author
  • Will J. F. Le Quesne
  • Stephen J. Hawkins
  • John D. D. Bishop
Research Article


Laboratory experiments were undertaken to examine fertilization success in the intertidal prosobranch limpets Patella ulyssiponensis and Patella vulgata. Alkalization of eggs (10 min in pH 9.0 sea water) prior to fertilization trials improved fertilization rates greatly. Fertilization success was found to be a function of sperm concentration, gamete age and contact time. Sperm concentration needed for optimum fertilization success in vivo ranged between 105 and 107 sperm ml−1 for both species although at higher concentrations the number of normally developing trochophore larvae decreased. For P. vulgata, sperm longevity (at a concentration of 106 sperm ml−1) did not exceed 6 h, whereas eggs of both species were fertilizable for up to 12 h. Maximum fertilization success occurred after 15–30 min gamete contact time. The Vogel et al. (Math Biosci 58:189–216, 1982) fertilization kinetics model is developed to allow for non-complete fertilizations under optimal sperm concentrations, and a new parameter fitting technique is developed to improve estimates of fertilization success for short gamete contact times.


Sperm Concentration Fertilization Success Sperm Suspension Trochophore Larva Sperm Longevity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was funded by grants to A.N.H. from the Royal Society (London) and National Research Foundation (South Africa). W.J.F. Le Q was funded by the N.E.R.C. at the N.O.C., Southampton. S.J.H. and J.D.D.B. were funded by N.E.R.C. grant-in-aid fellowships at the M.B.A. In addition the work at the M.B.A. was made possible by a Ray Lankester Fellowship to A.N.H. John Shepherd provided helpful comments on the model fitting, and Rosana Aquino Souza assisted with some of the experimental work on P. ulyssiponensis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan N. Hodgson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Will J. F. Le Quesne
    • 2
    • 4
  • Stephen J. Hawkins
    • 3
  • John D. D. Bishop
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and EntomologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.National Oceanography Centre, Waterfront CampusUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  3. 3.Marine Biological AssociationCitadel Hill, PlymouthUK
  4. 4.School of Marine Science and TechnologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastleUK

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