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Ultrastructure of the mature spermatozoon of the musky rat-kangaroo, Hypsiprymnodon moschatus (Potoroidae: Marsupialia)

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Abstract Lloyd, S., Carrick, F. and Hall, L. 2002. Ultrastructure of the mature spermatozoon of the musky rat-kangaroo, Hypsiprymnodon moschatus (Potoroidae: Marsupialia). — Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 83: 167–174

It is currently accepted that Hypsiprymnodon moschatus is a basal macropod, retaining several primitive features from the ancestral phalangeroid that gave rise both to modern possums and macropods. Sperm ultrastructure is frequently found to provide informative characters for phylogenetic analysis as these features are not strongly selected for and are thus unlikely to be confounded by effects such as convergence. Caudal epididymal biopsies were taken from two male H. moschatus and prepared for transmission and scanning electron microscopy in order to study mature spermatozoan ultrastructure. Within the diprotodont group, several features were found to be unique to H. moschatus. These were an unusual acrosome covering nearly 100% of the dorsal nuclear surface, a midpiece fibre network which is loose, indistinct and extends to the anterior-most aspect of the midpiece, a nucleus that is very streamlined, while the principal piece is comparatively short, and a mitochondrial helix and annulus which are similar to those of dasyurids. Also reported is the presence of a fibrous network in the connecting piece, not previously reported for any marsupial.

Keywords: Hypsiprymnodon; marsupial; phylogeny; spermatoza; ultrastructure

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, 4072, Australia 2: Department of Veterinary Pathology and Anatomy and

Publication date: 2002-04-01

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