Scientia Marina, Vol 74, No 4 (2010)

Spermiogenesis particularities of a sperm storage species: Helicolenus dactylopterus (Teleostei: Scorpaenidae)

Silvia Vila
Departament de Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Girona , Spain

Maria Sàbat
Departament de Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Girona , Spain

Marta Muñoz
Departament de Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Girona , Spain

Margarida Casadevall
Departament de Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Girona , Spain


A study of the spermiogenesis and spermatozoa of Helicolenus dactylopterus was conducted. Females of this species have the capacity to store sperm within their ovaries, and male gametes have a considerable cytoplasmic mass surrounding their heads to survive the long period of intraovarian sperm storage. Our observations show that early spermatids are round-shaped cells and have a spherical nucleus with diffuse chromatin. The nuclear volume decreases as a result of progressive chromatin condensation during spermiogenesis, causing the nucleus to take on a U-shape. Flagellar insertion is not central to the nucleus but consistently occurs at an oblique angle towards one side of it. The flagellum is inserted into the nuclear fossa, without subsequent nuclear rotation. In mature spermatozoa, the flagellum is adjacent to the nucleus. A comparison of the spermatozoa in the testicular lobules and those in the intraovarian storage structures suggests that the increase in volume of the cytoplasmic mass may occur in the posterior region of the testis, in the testicular duct. Spermatozoa enter the ovary in groups that reach the ovarian lumen and are surrounded by the ovarian epithelium for storage in sperm storage crypts.


Helicolenus dactylopterus; spermiogenesis; ultrastructure; sperm storage; spermatozoa

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