, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 209–214 | Cite as

Reproductive effort and growth in the prosobranch snail, Viviparus ater

  • M. Gebhardt
  • G. Ribi
Original Papers


We compared two populations of Viviparus ater from Lake Zürich and Lake Maggiore with respect to the reproductive investment of individual females throughout their lives. Based on field observations of the bumber and size of offspring and from measurements of the differences between growth rings on the shells we constructed a probabilistic model for the life history of the females. A simulation showed that the overall productivity of females was higher in Lake Zürich than in Lake Maggiore. The higher productivity of females in Lake Zürich was due to faster growth before maturity and higher fecundity after maturity. The reproductive effort, as measured by the percentage of assimulated energy used for reproduction, remained constant throughout the life of the females in Lake Zürich, whereas it declined with age in Lake Maggiore. We interpret this as the outcome of a reproductive strategy that avoids risks due to reckless reproduction, rather than as two different strategies which have been selected in response to different habitat types.

Key words

Life history Reproductive strategy Risk avoidance Simulation study 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Gebhardt
    • 1
  • G. Ribi
    • 2
  1. 1.Zoologisches Institut der Universität BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Zoologisches Museum der Universität ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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