Reproductive characterization of three species of Giant African land snails (GALs) in captivity
Duration of reproductive activities (courtship latency, courtship and mating) were studied in three (3) species of Giant African land snails (GALs) namely, Achatina fulica, Archachatina marginata and Achatina achatina using mature snails gathered from rural Nigeria. The snails were housed singly for 90 days to acclimatize; shed already fertilized eggs from previous mating and develop strong desire to mate. Thereafter, monocultures of each species were formed namely, A. fulica x A. fulica (F x F); A. marginata x A. marginata (M x M) and A. achatina x A. achatina (A x A) for pre-mating trials. These were observed for one week and any two snails that showed consistent association for more than 10 min were isolated and kept together as potential mating pairs. Parameters measured were duration of courtship latency (DCL), duration of courtship (DC), duration of mating (DM), duration from mating to oviposition (DMO), egg weight (EW), egg length (EL) and weight of hatchlings (WH). Number of mated pairs and ovipositors per species were noted and mating propensity was calculated as the percentage of tested snails that mated in each species. Result shows significant (P<0.05) differences between snail species in all traits studied.
Key words: Land snails, courtship, copulatory duration, tentacular contact, monocultures.