Research Article

Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 395-406

First online:

Experimental evidence of inbreeding avoidance in the hermaphroditic snail Physa acuta

  • Benoît FaconAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne Email author 
  • , Virginie RavignéAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolution, University of LausanneUMR ECOBIOP, INRA, Quartier Ibarron
  • , Jérôme GoudetAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne

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Inbreeding depression should select for inbreeding avoidance behaviours. Here we test this hypothesis in two populations of the simultaneous hermaphroditic freshwater snail Physa acuta. We recorded the copulatory behaviour of 288 pairs of sib-mates, non-kin mates from the same population, or non-kin mates from two different populations. We find that kin discriminatory behaviours exist in this species, exclusively expressed by individuals playing the female role. We discuss the relevance of our finding in the context of the evolution of recognition systems and the consequences of such a behaviour in natural populations.


Mating behavior Inbreeding avoidance Mate choice Freshwater snail Hermaphroditic Intersexual conflict