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Therefore, measuring the number of mates in natural populations is necessary to see how many mates hermaphrodites have in the field and to permit comparison with laboratory situations.

In contrast with their well-documented promiscuity in the laboratory, to the best of our knowledge, attempts to quantify the number of mates in natural populations of hermaphrodites are scarce; we found such studies for only one species of gastropod, the land snail ., 2013; Barazandeh, Davis & Palmer 2014; Plough, Moran & Marko, 2014; ascidians: Johnson & Yund, 2007; corals: Yeoh & Dai, 2010; Warner, Willis & van Oppen, 2016).

Consistently, in these cases, multiple fathers sire offspring with a given mother, as supported by genetic paternity testing (sea slug: Angeloni ., 2003, snails: Mulvey & Vrijenhoek, 1981; Wethington & Dillon, 1991; Baur, 1994; Städler, Weisner & Streit, 1995; Coutelle-Vreto, Madec & Guiller, 1997; Viard, Doums & Jarne, 1997; Evanno, Madec & Arnaud, 2005; Henry ., 2016; polychaete: Lorenzi, Schleicherová & Sella, 2013), even though in gastropods a single insemination suffices for long-term fertilization (Chen & Baur, 1993; Ludwig & Walsh, 2004; Nakadera, Blom & Koene, 2014).

However, animals in mass culture tend to be maintained at high density ( in VU University Amsterdam), so that they have plenty of potential mates.

To expand the scope of knowledge about multiple mating in hermaphroditic gastropods, we investigated multiple paternity in natural populations of the great pond snail ., 2009).

In addition, this species usually uses sperm from its mates for fertilizing its own eggs (called outcrossing), although they do not show explicit inbreeding depression or self-fertilizing depression (Coutellec & Lagadic, 2006; Puurtinen from several locations, allowed them to lay eggs in the laboratory and genotyped the offspring and mothers using microsatellite markers.

Also, cultured animals are expected to have a longer lifespan than animals in the field, which is mainly due to low predation rate and provision of more than sufficient food.

These conditions are expected to elevate their mating frequency and the number of mates in a cultured population (Janicke ., 2013; Auld & Henkel, 2014; Auld & Houser, 2015; Janicke, David & Chapuis, 2015; Janicke & Chapuis, 2016).

As a consequence, when females mate with multiple partners, they can store sperm from several partners in their reproductive tracts, providing the opportunity for sperm competition, cryptic female choice and thus postcopulatory sexual selection (e.g. Hence, the number of mates is an important determinant for the potential for postcopulatory sexual selection, as supported by theoretical predictions (e.g. Furthermore, the number of mates is especially fascinating to examine in simultaneous hermaphrodites (which are male and female at the same time, hereafter called hermaphrodites).

On the one hand, it has been predicted that hermaphrodites have a limited number of mates in the wild, based on their low chance to find a mate and/or low mobility (Charnov, Maynard Smith & Bull, 1976; Charnov, 1982).

Therefore, documenting the number of mates that hermaphrodites have can provide additional information for our understanding of postcopulatory sexual selection as well as of how their sexual system is maintained.

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