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Fine structure of unusual spermatozoa and spermiogenesis of the mite Megisthanus floridanus Banks, 1904 (Acari: Gamasida: Antennophorina)

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Alberti, G. and Klompen, H. 2002. Fine structure of unusual spermatozoa and spermiogenesis of the mite Megisthanus floridanus Banks, 1904 (Acari: Gamasida: Antennophorina). —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 83: 277–295

The aflagellate spermatozoa of the gamasid mite Megisthanus floridanus are characterized by a large vacuole which contains a cytoplasmic column protruding into the vacuole from the region defined as the posterior part of the cell. The membrane of the column and the inner membrane of the posterior part of the cytoplasmic mantle (outer sheath) surrounding the vacuole bear numerous so-called cellular processes. However, most of the outer sheath is reduced and represented solely by a very thin membrane-like envelope. The posterior part of the cell bears extensive folds. The cell, or, more precisely, the column, shows a deep posterior invagination. This invagination contains extracellular material composed of thin filaments or strands. Peripheral folds emerging from the posterior rim of the cell form a thin-walled tube that contains the same material as the invagination. The elongated nucleus is attached to a peculiar acrosomal complex consisting of a flat acrosomal cisterna that parallels most of the cell membrane, an attachment cone, and a short acrosomal filament which is embedded in a narrow canal within the nucleus. The spermatozoa of M. floridanus represent a peculiar version of the vacuolated type of sperm known to be plesiomorphic within the anactinotrichid Acari. Some details of spermiogenesis are described and consequences for phylogenetic and systematic considerations are discussed.

Keywords: Trigynaspida; comparative spermatology; phylogeny; vacuolated sperm

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Zoologisches Institut und Museum, Universit├Ąt Greifswald, Bachstrasse 11/12, D-17489 Greifswald, Germany, 2: Acarology Laboratory, Department of Entomology, Ohio State University, 1315 Kinnear Rd., Columbus, OH 43212–1192, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2002


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