Reproductive strategies in hermaphroditic gastropods: conceptual and empirical approaches 1

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An individual optimizes its reproductive success by adopting a particular reproductive strategy. Studying the details of a reproductive strategy leads to an understanding of how sexual selection acts, as the former is the process via which the individual reproduces successfully. Hermaphroditic gastropods display a bewildering diversity of reproductive strategies, which may be due to their mode of gender expression, when compared with well-studied separate-sexed species. Extensive theoretical, observational, and experimental research has been conducted on this topic. However, despite our knowledge about the reproductive system of hermaphroditic gastropods, we still need to fill the gap between pre- and post-copulatory processes and reproductive success. Here, we review and propose conceptual and empirical approaches aimed at understanding reproductive strategies of hermaphroditic gastropods. In sum, our suggestions are (i) to focus on sex-biased traits, (ii) to take biologically reliable measurements at both the pre- and post-copulatory level that relate to reproductive success, and (iii) to examine the fitness consequences of biased sex allocation.
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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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