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Seasonal migration promoting assortative mating in Littorina brevicula on a boulder shore in Japan

  • Yoshitake Takada
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 111)

Abstract

Littorina brevicula Philippi is one of the most common snails found in the upper intertidal zone of Japan. In Amakusa, some of the population of L. brevicula migrate to the lower zone in the winter, while the rest stay in the upper zone. Thus, during the winter, which is its reproductive season, the population of L. brevicula divides into two sub-populations. This leads to a hypothesis that the migration pattern in winter is genetically controlled and this behavioural dimorphism is maintained by reproductive isolation between the two sub-populations. In order to test this hypothesis, the following three points were investigated: (1) whether the same snails migrate in a similar way every winter, (2) whether there is a significant tidal level preference in snails, and (3) whether reproductive isolation occurs between the two sub-populations. The results showed (1) the migration behaviour of each snail was consistent over two successive winters, i.e. the same group of snails migrated downward every winter and the same group of snails stayed in the upper zone every winter, (2) transplanted snails moved toward the original zones where they were caught, suggesting that the snails actively selected their tidal zone in winter, and (3) most of the snails copulated within each sub-population. Therefore, reproductive isolation between the two sub-populations was considered to be established to some extent by the dimorphic migration behaviour. In conclusion, the migratory behaviour of L. brevicula is determined separately for each individual and might be genetically controlled, and the behavioural dimorphism may be maintained by partial reproductive isolation between the two sub-populations.

Key words

assortative mating migration behaviour habitat selection reproductive season boulder shore Littorina brevicula 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoshitake Takada
    • 1
  1. 1.Amakusa Marine Biological LaboratoryKyushu UniversityReihoku, Amakusa, KumamotoJapan

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