Reproduction of the Edible Snail (Helix pomatia)
Like most gastropods, Helix pomatia is hermaphroditic - that is, they have the reproductive organs of both genders. They still engage in sexual reproduction, and the mating rituals of some land snails are truly bizarre.
When two sexually mature snails meet and determine that they’re going to mate, “love darts” will often be exchanged in a pre-mating ritual. However, these darts are not part of the insemination process; mating takes place after this exchange.
Darts don’t always hit their target (the other snail), and snails don’t always go into this “battle” with a dart prepared - snails who have never mated previously cannot create a dart, as the dart sac is not yet primed to lay down the chitin that the darts are comprised of. However, a snail who manages to hit their mate with a dart prior to mating have been shown to cause their mate to create a significantly higher number of eggs, and of those eggs, a higher percentage successfully hatch.
The Naturalists Miscellany. George Shaw, 1790.