Structural changes in the spermatophore of the freshwater ‘red claw’ crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus (Von Martens, 1898) (Decapoda, Parastacidae)

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Abstract:

Abstract

López Greco, L.S. and Lo Nostro, F.L. 2007. Structural changes in the spermatophore of the freshwater ‘red claw’ crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus (Von Martens, 1898) (Decapoda, Parastacidae). —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 88: 000–000

The structure of the spermatophore was studied in Cherax quadricarinatus. Pieces of the distal vas deferens and transferred spermatophore from the females were fixed, cut and stained. Within the distal vas deferens, the primary layer and the secondary layer of the spermatophore were distinguishable. In the latter, two components were detected: cytoplasmic droplets and a homogeneous matrix. During the first 10 minutes post-extrusion the cytoplasmic droplets drastically changed from looking like ‘empty droplets’; at this time the spermatophore changed from a liquid stage to a sticky one. One hour after extrusion the spermatophore began to harden and within the first 24–48 h post-mating it was a solid and intense white structure tightly attached to the female; after 72 h it acquired a softer aspect, completely dehiscing between 96 and 120 h post-mating. Histologically, the primary layer maintained its integrity surrounding the spermatozoa while the secondary layer lost the cytoplasmic droplets. The spermatophore began to hydrate between 24 and 48 h and by 72–96 h many sections of the sperm cord began to coalesce. From 48 h post-mating some fissures appeared within the matrix that enlarged between 72 and 120 h. We propose that both manipulation by the female and hydration are the mechanisms involved in the release of the spermatozoa from the spermatophore.

Keywords: Cherax quadricarinatus; morphology; red claw; spermatophore

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1463-6395.2007.00303.x

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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