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Can Cannibalistic Hatchlings of the Land Snail Arianta Arbustorum Distinguish Between Sib and Non-Sib Eggs?

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In the field hatchlings of the land snail Arianta arbustorum have been observed devouring eggs from sib as well as non-sib clutches. In the laboratory newly hatched A. arbustorum were tested for their ability to distinguish between eggs of different degrees of relatedness. In these experiments hatchlings did not discriminate between sib, other kin and non-kin eggs. Snails from three populations showed the same egg preferences, but they differed in their propensity for cannibalism. Despite the apparent lack of sib and kin recognition, egg cannibalism in A. arbustorum may be adaptive, even among siblings, because of the nutritional and energetic benefits.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Zoology, Uppsala University, Box 561, S-751 22 Uppsala, Sweden


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