Responses of mud snails from low and high imposex sites to sex pheromones.
Imposex, male secondary sexual characteristics in female snails, is a morphological indicator of sub-lethal exposure to organotin compounds. The relation between imposex and behavioral responses to sex pheromones was studied. Responses of snails to sex specific pheromones were determined in laboratory assays. Females and males from a low imposex site and females, imposex females and males from a high imposex site were tested. The snails from the low imposex site showed the expected strong behavioral dimorphism with females responding to male pheromone and males responding to female pheromone. In assays using snails from the high imposex site, female and imposex females showed no dimorphism in response to pheromones and males showed a relatively weak dimorphism. As there was no breeding or egg capsule deposition at the high imposex site, we conclude that even the morphologically normal snails were behaviorally and reproductively compromised.
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