Although very little is known about the specific reproductive cycle of Mesodon altivagus, we are able to assume similarities when describing the order Stylommatophora, or Pulmonate land snails.


The Pulmonate land snails are monoecious, meaning they contain both sex organs complete with testes, sperm, and penis; ovaries, eggs, and oviduct (Dourson, 2010). Through internal and cross fertilization, Pulmonates exclude the veliger larvae stage during development. therefore possessing a direct lifestyle (Wilbur et al., 1964).


The beginning of the reproductive cycle can be first seen through the courtship behavior of land snails (Wilbur, 1984). Courtship has been recorded in a multitude of different time intervals, lasting from a few minutes up to 34 hours (Wilbur, 1984). When the mates meet, they begin courtship with a series of touching and specific movements (Hotopp et al., 2006). Some courting rituals also include body injury by one land snail biting the other with the use of their jaw or radula (Wilbur, 1984).


Once ready for copulation, the quick exchange of spermatophores occurs when the penis of one Pulmonate is inserted into the genital pore of the other (Wilbur, 1984). When the spermatophore is introduced in the vagina, the sperm is released from the spermatophore and begins fertilization with the eggs in the fertilization chamber (Hotopp et al., 2006). The egg then passes through the uterus as it is covered with a protective coating of calcium carbonate before it exits the body (Wilbur, 1984). Since dry areas are the leading cause of death in the eggs, they are laid in consistently wet areas, such as under logs or leaves (Wilbur, 1984). Many snails also dig small nests in damp soil in which they lay their eggs (Wilbur, 1984). After about 2 days, the juveniles hatch (Branson, 1961).






Mesodon thyroidus, a similar species to Mesodon altivagus, undergoing cross fertilization









Reproduction season for land snails tend to begin in late February to mid-summer due to milder temperatures and moist soil (Branson, 1961). Mating mainly occurs at night, however cases of mating during the daytime and early morning have been recorded (Wilbur, 1984).


Reports have noted that many external factors can affect mating frequency, such as a rise of copulation during times of rain (Wilbur, 1984). Additionally, it has been found that temperature, aridity, as well as light can affect gonad development in the snail (Wilbur, 1984).


Mesodon thyroidus, a closely related species to Mesodon altivagus, was found to deposit packets of 20-80 eggs in small nests in damp soil (University of Florida Entomology & Nematology, 2011). Furthermore, they have a life span of at least 2 years (University of Florida Entomology & Nematology, 2011). We can assume that Mesodon altivagus shares similar characteristics due to their close relation.










A cluster of Mesodon eggs found under a rotting piece of log in the forest







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