Fine structure of the male genital systems, spermatophores and unusual sperm cells of Saxidromidae (Acari, Actinotrichida)
2010 - Volume: 50 Issue: 2 pages: 243-256
The early derivative actinedid Saxidromidae, Saxidromus delamarei, Bovidromus roussouwi, and Rhinodromus lootsi perform indirect spermatophore transfer by means of a peculiar mating behaviour. The anatomy and fine structure of the male genital systems are described and are shown to exhibit the organisation considered to be fundamental in Actinotrichida: paired testes with germinal and glandular parts, paired vasa deferentia, unpaired ejaculatory duct, progenital chamber containing genital papillae. The genital system is located ventral of the digestive tract. The testes produce relatively few or even very few aflagellate sperm cells, which represent synspermia consisting of likely four undivided sperm cell equivalents in a common cytoplasm. Whereas S. delamarei produces a rather large stalked spermatophore containing many synspermia, both the other species produce very tiny stalked spermatophores with a spherical head representing only one synspermium. Thus, in these latter species only one synspermium is transferred to the female at a time, but the male can convey several (possibly five or more) spermatophores to the female during the mating session. A scenario is suggested which could describe the evolution of this remarkable mating system and behaviour.
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