Semicystic spermatogenesis and biflagellate spermatozoon ultrastructure in the Nile electric catfish Malapterurus electricus (Teleostei: Siluriformes: Malapteruridae)
Shahin, A. A. B. 2006. Semicystic spermatogenesis and biflagellate spermatozoon ultrastructure in the Nile electric catfish Malapterurus electricus (Teleostei: Siluriformes: Malapteruridae). —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 87: 215 –227
Spermatogenesis and spermatozoon ultrastructure in the Nile electric catfish Malapterurus electricus are described using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Although the testis organization conforms to the ‘unrestricted’ spermatogonial type, the species has a rare type of spermatogenesis not previously described among catfishes, ‘semicystic’, in which the cyst ruptures before the spermatozoon stage. Spermiogenesis also involves some peculiar features such as condensation of the chromatin in the posterior part of the nucleus to form a compact electron-dense mass with some irregular electron-lucent lacunae, while the uppermost part of the nucleus is a loose electron-lucent area, absence of the nuclear rotation and, as a consequence, the centriolar complex and the initial segment of each flagellum arise directly in a position perpendicular to the basal pole of the nucleus, and occurrence of numerous vesicles in the midpiece. In addition, spermiogenesis includes migration of the diplosome and mitochondria to the basal pole of the nucleus, formation of two moderate nuclear fossae, each of which contains the centriolar complex, development of two independent flagella and elimination of the excess cytoplasm. The mature spermatozoon has a more or less round head with no acrosome or acrosomal vesicle, a long midpiece with numerous mitochondria and vesicles and two long tails or flagella having the classical axoneme structure of 9 + 2 microtubular doublet pattern and with no lateral fins and membranous compartment. These findings suggest that the ultrastructural features of spermiogenesis and spermatozoa of M. electricus are synapomorphies of types I and II spermiogenesis and spermiogenesis is closely similar to the type described in the Nile catfish Chrysichthys auratus.