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Photoperiod controls egg laying and caudodorsal cell hormone expression but not gonadal development in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis


Photoperiod is a reliable cue to regulate growth and reproduction for seasonal adaptation. Although photoperiodism has been well studied in Chordata and Arthropoda, less is known about Mollusca. We examined photoperiodic effects on egg laying, body size, gonad-somatic index, oocyte size and relative amounts of caudodorsal cell hormone mRNA in individual rearing conditions in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. Twenty-five weeks after hatching, the percentages of egg-laying snails under a photoperiod of 12 h light and 12 h darkness (12L:12D) were significantly smaller than those under longer days. The total numbers of eggs and egg masses under 12L:12D were significantly smaller than those under longer days. Significant differences between 16L:8D and 12L:12D were not observed in the soft body and ovotestis weight, and the gonad-somatic index. Photoperiodic effects were also not observed in oocyte diameters twenty-two weeks after hatching. Twenty-seven weeks after hatching amounts of caudodorsal cell hormone mRNA were significantly lower in the cerebral ganglia with commissure under 12L:12D than 16L:8D. L. stagnalis exhibited a clear photoperiodic response in egg laying and the amount of caudodorsal cell hormone mRNA, but not in gonadal development. Under 12L:12D suppression of caudodorsal cell hormone expression might suppress egg laying.

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We thank Professor Etsuro Ito at Waseda University for kindly providing Lymnaea stagnalis and their guidance and advice for rearing. We also thank Dr. Yoshitaka Hamanaka for sharing data of cdch mRNA amount in the whole central nervous system and for critical reading of the manuscript.


No funding was received for conducting this study.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. HK conducted the experiments for Fig. 1 and Fig. 3a. UK conducted experiments for Fig. 2, Fig. 3b, and Fig. 4. HK and UK wrote the first draft of the manuscript. SS and SGG performed the data analysis. SS and SGG made the experimental design and wrote the manuscript. All authors read, and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Sakiko Shiga.

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This article does not contain any studies with vertebrate animals performed by any of the authors.

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All experiments were carried out in accordance with the guide for the care and use of laboratory animals of the university.

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Comparison of relative amounts (a) and the summary of two-way ANOVA (b) of ß-tubulin mRNA in the cerebral ganglia and commissure of Lymnaea stagnalis reared under different photoperiod (12L:12D and 16L:8D) and different age (22 and 27 weeks after hatching). Columns and bars in a show average and S.D., respectively. N = 5 (all samples), N.S., not significant (PPTX 48 KB)

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Kitai, H., Kakuda, U., Goto, S.G. et al. Photoperiod controls egg laying and caudodorsal cell hormone expression but not gonadal development in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. J Comp Physiol A 207, 523–532 (2021).

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