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More recent research has provided better insight, showing that when a mucus-covered dart is successfully stabbed into the partner, there is a corresponding increase in paternity success (13).

Without mating with a mucus-covered dart, the spermatophore placed into the spermatophore-receiving organ of their partner is almost entirely digested, leaving only a small number (0.1%) of the spermatozoa to survive and escape to the more advanced regions of the female reproductive system for storage until fertilization occurs (19).

In animal species with separate sexes, mate choice and precopulatorily sexual selection of females are influenced by their reproductive physiology and behavior (1), whereas competition between males to generate offspring is generally associated with morphological and physical characteristics (1–3).

However, such competition for fertilization can continue after copulation, at the level of the sperm, and this process seems to have become an especially important evolutionary driving force among a group of species with a different reproductive strategy: simultaneous hermaphrodites that do not self-fertilize (4–6).

BSA using a isometric force transducer (i-FOT Rev 3.0; Global Town Microtech, Sarasota, FL) linked to a compact unichannel bridge amplifier (BRAM-4B; Global Town) and a polygraph monitoring system (Power Labs added effects, false contractions, and instances of tissue tiredness) and delivered approximately every 90 s to the copulatory canal suspended between the transducer and a fixed 0.1-mm hook using nylon ligatures, in 20-μl aliquots to a 15-ml organ bath containing oxygenated (95% O), filtered, molluscan Ringer solution (21) at 25 °C.

Combined with our finding that the protein amino acid sequence resembles previously described molluscan buccalin precursors, this indicates that LDA is partially conserved in helicid snails and less in other molluscan species.

Love darts are characteristic features of the reproductive tract for the hermaphrodite land snail families of Helicidae and Ariophantidae (12).

These darts are assembled within a thick-walled dart sac and have now been described in numerous species, showing distinct species-specific structural architecture (17).

The active agent in the gland mucus fulfills the requirements for the substance to be classified as an allohormone; it enters the circulatory system of the conspecific via inoculation by the dart and stimulates physiological and behavioral changes (20).

In this study, we analyzed the contents of the mucous glands of ) were purchased from commercial culturists (Glasshouse Gourmet Snails), transported, and stored at University of the Sunshine Coast helicid facilities during the months of April and May in 20.

In all assays, statistical analysis was performed using Pearson's chi-square test or Fisher's exact test as appropriate.