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Composition of body storage compounds influences egg quality and reproductive investment in the land snail Cornu aspersum

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In invertebrates, resources available for growth and reproduction might influence the composition of body stores and subsequently nutrient allocation to eggs, thereby adjusting energy investment in reproduction. We investigated in the land snail Cornu aspersum (Müller, 1774) the efficiency of growth and the main storage compounds in the body and in eggs with respect to lipid content in food (5.5% versus 2.5%). The high body dry mass density of snails fed on lipid-rich diet underlined the high storage capacity of neutral lipids acquired during growth (high growth efficiency) without changing energy content because of the prevailing carbohydrate storage compounds. Reproductive investment was lower in these snails, and maternal effects decreased clutch size. Triglyceride allocation to eggs might enhance survival probability of offspring and therefore compensate for smaller clutch size. Snails fed on lipid-poor diet maximized their investment in clutch size whatever the amount of body stores, and allocated a higher amount of cholesterol to eggs. Cholesterol could be essential for embryo growth, as it ensures membrane functioning. In conclusion, the availability of resources can differentially affect nutrient allocation and energy investment in reproduction. Thus, the investigation of physiological processes becomes essential to understand population dynamics in fluctuating or changing habitats.
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Keywords: Cornu aspersum; attribution pour la reproduction; carbohydrate storage; cholesterol; cholestérol; compromis associés à la reproduction; croissance; growth; reproductive allocation; reproductive trade-offs; stockage des glucides; stockage des triglycérides; triglyceride storage

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Universität Bremen, UFT, Abteilung für theoretische Ökologie, Leobener Straße, D-28359 Bremen. 2: IAF, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Umwelt Nürtingen-Geislingen, Schelmenwasen 4-8, 72622 Nürtingen, Deutschland. 3: UMR CNRS 6553 EcoBio, Université de Rennes 1, bâtiment 14A, Campus de Beaulieu, 35042 Rennes CEDEX, France.

Publication date: 2012-09-17

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