Sex differences in stress responses may be a key factor that determines population structure. Sex ratios of Pomacea canaliculata populations usually average 1:1 at birth, but are often female-biased for adults. Low temperatures and drought are the main abiotic stresses affecting reproductive dispersal and population development. Therefore, we investigated whether Pomacea sp. (mainly P. canaliculata but might include P. maculata) exhibited sex differences in cold hardiness and desiccation tolerance. The results show that more females survived than males during cold-drought stress and overwintering. Following cold-drought stress, 58% of females and 40% of males survived at 3°C drought conditions for 6 days. With the development of cold-drought hardiness, increased amounts of bound water, glycerol and lipids were found in Pomacea sp. along with decreased free water levels. These physiological parameters exhibited sex differences in the snails, except for lipids, and the changes all showed tendencies favoring the survival of females under cold-drought stress. These results suggest that female Pomacea sp. may be more viable than males under cold and dry conditions.
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Vol. 62 • No. 2