, Patera Snail     Snails in the Polygyrid family are monoecious and can produce sexually or asexually. There are many benefits of this type of reproduction. Snails are generally slow moving and may not encounter another snail in their lifetime, so they are able to fertilize themselves to reproduce. This does not allow for much genetic diversity, but it preserves the lineage of each snail until they are able to encounter another snail to reproduce sexually.

     Although there is no distinct male or female, one snail will play the role of the female and receive sperm from the other. Often times, the roles are then reversed and the snail that was previously female will inject sperm into the "male." This sometimes must occur multiple times to be successful, and sperm is often stored in the event that another snail to mate with is never encountered.(Wilbur, 1984)., 2 Patera SnailsSnails have a direct life cycle meaning that they do not go through a larval stage as many other animals do. Once snails have successfully cross fertilized, they begin to hunt for a suitable environment in which to lay their eggs. This is usually a place that will remain continuously moist and is well protected. Most snails settle for a hole that they dig in the soil of a moist forest floor. Once the hole is dug, the snail crawls into it to wait for fertilization of its available eggs to be complete. This sometimes can take up to 12 hours. The snail will then deposit the eggs, leave the pit, cover it with soil, and abandon it. The eggs will remain in the pit for up to 1 year before the young snails begin to emerge from the soil. (Wilbur, 1984).



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