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Data from: Asexual freshwater snails make poor mate choice decisions

Citation

Neiman, Maurine; Jalinsky, Joseph; Stork, Sydney (2021), Data from: Asexual freshwater snails make poor mate choice decisions, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.zs7h44j8v

Abstract

Once-useful traits that no longer contribute to fitness tend to decay over time. We address whether the expression of mating-related traits that increase the fitness of sexually reproducing individuals but are likely less useful or even costly to asexual counterparts seems to exhibit decay in the latter. Potamopyrgus antipodarum is a New Zealand freshwater snail characterized by repeated transitions from sexual to asexual reproduction. The frequent coexistence of sexual and asexual lineages makes P. antipodarum an excellent model for the study of mating-related trait loss. We used a mating choice assay including sexual and asexual P. antipodarum females and conspecific (presumed better choice) vs. heterospecific (presumed worse choice) males to evaluate the loss of behavioural traits related to sexual reproduction. We found that sexual females engaged in mating behaviours with conspecific mating partners more frequently and for a greater duration than with heterospecific mating partners, while asexual females seemed to lack the ability to make a choice. These results suggest that selection acting to maintain mate choice in asexual P. antipodarum is weak or ineffective relative to sexual females and that asexual reproduction likely contributes to the evolutionary decay of behavioural traits in this system.