Ultrastructure of the spermatozoa of the flatworms Phaenocelis peleca and Boninia divae (Platyhelminthes, Polycladida)


The ultrastructure of spermatozoa of the acotylean Phaenocelis peleca and the cotylean Boninia divae is described. All spermatozoa are filiform and biflagellate with a 9+"1" microtubular pattern in the axoneme. Sperm characters in P. peleca follow the morphologies described for other acotyleans, with axonemes exiting the sperm shaft at the distal end and remaining in close contact with the sperm membrane. The nucleus occupies the proximal region of the shaft, and two types of dense bodies and mitochondria are located at the distal end. Unlike other members of the Cotylea, the axonemes of B. divae spermatozoa are incorporated into the sperm shaft, leaving the shaft at some distance from the distal end and then remaining free. This type of morphology is characteristic for acotyleans. Additionally, the spermatozoa of B. divae contain only one type of dense bodies plus a unique structure, which we call a central core. The nucleus in this species is unique as well; it shows periodic constrictions and rings of electron-dense granules, characters that further contribute to the distinct status of Boniniidae.

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