Turbellarian taxonomic database

Record # 20461

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Schärer L, Joss G, Sandner P (2004)
Mating behaviour of the marine turbellarian Macrostomum sp.: these worms suck.
Marine Biology 145: 373-380

Abstract / Notes

"Simultaneous hermaphrodites experience unique conflicts of interest during reproduction, some of which are
reflected in their complex mating behaviours. We here provide the first detailed description of the mating
behaviour of a marine flatworm of the genus Macrostomum, a cosmopolitan group of microturbellaria. Mating in
this species is usually initiated by the precopulatory behaviours circling and reeling, then leads to
reciprocal copulation where worms mutually insert their copulatory stylet, and often ends in an intriguing
postcopulatory sucking behaviour. We provide detailed data on the frequencies and durations of the different
behaviours, and examine some biotic and abiotic factors that could influence the mating rate. We further
speculate on the function of sucking and suggest that it could be an adaptation for the digestion of sperm
and/or the removal of seminal components, which may function as allohormones."

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