Dispersers are more likely to follow mucus trails in the land snail Cornu aspersum

Abstract : Dispersal, movement leading to gene flow, is a fundamental but costly life history trait. The use of indirect social information may help mitigate these costs, yet we often know little about the proximate sources of such information, and how dispersers and residents may differ in their information use. Terrestrial molluscs, which have a high cost of movement and obligatorily leave information potentially exploitable by conspecifics during movement (through mucus trails), are a good model to investigate links between dispersal costs and information use. We studied whether dispersers and residents differed in their trail-following propensity in the snail Cornu aspersum. Dispersers followed mucus trails more frequently than expected by chance, contrary to non-dispersers. Trail-following by dispersers may reduce dispersal costs by reducing energy expenditure and helping snails find existing habitat or resource patches. Finally, we point that ignoring the potential for collective dispersal provided by trail-following may hinder our understanding of the demographic and genetic consequences of dispersal.
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Alexandre Vong, Armelle Ansart, Maxime Dahirel. Dispersers are more likely to follow mucus trails in the land snail Cornu aspersum. The Science of Nature Naturwissenschaften, Springer Verlag, 2019, 106 (7-8), pp.43. ⟨10.1007/s00114-019-1642-9⟩. ⟨hal-02178866⟩

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