Comparative spermatology of selected polyclad flatworms (Platyhelminthes)


Sperm ultrastructure of four acotylean (Idioplana atlantica, Armatoplana leptalea, Styloplanocera fasciata, Melloplana ferruginea) and three cotylean polyclads (Pseudoceros bicolor, Phrikoceros mopsus, Enchiridium evelinae) was investigated. All spermatozoa are biflagellate, exhibiting a 9+"1" axoneme pattern. All acotylean axonemes originate and extend within the sperm shaft, and once exiting the shaft, remain attached to it. The flagella of all cotylean spermatozoa exit the shaft immediately and remain free. Structures shared by all species include: an elongated nucleus, in acotyleans located only in the posterior part of the shaft, whereas in cotyleans it extends along the entire sperm body; mitochondria along with small and large dense bodies arranged in a specific pattern; and a ring of microtubules that extends along the entire sperm shaft just beneath the cell membrane. A unique spermatozoon has been found in E. evelinae, where round vesicle-like structures fill the anterior part of the nucleus, and a different type of large dense bodies is present. The spermatozoa of all studied species exhibit numerous characters (axoneme/flagella position, distribution and position of large and small dense bodies, of mitochondria, presence of nuclear vesicles) that may be of phylogenetic value at the family and higher taxonomic levels.

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Journal of Morphology


John Wiley and Sons

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© 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.