Structure of spermatodoses in shield-back bushcrickets (Tettigoniidae, Tettigoniinae)
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractMany aspects of the reproductive anatomy and physiology of tettigoniids have been studied extensively. These include the large, externally visible spermatophores and the bundles of sperm, known as spermatodesms. However, spermatodoses, spermatophore-like structures found within the spermatheca, seem to have been almost completely overlooked: their structure has not been described since 1913 and they have subsequently received only passing mention in the literature. Each time the female mates, a separate spermatodose is formed. Here I use photographs, from light-microscopy, of whole and sectioned spermatodoses to describe the external and internal structure of spermatodoses of nine different genera within the subfamily Tettigoniinae. The structure of the spermatodoses is very similar for the different genera. Each spermatodose is pear- or onion-shaped and consists of a thin outer layer, enclosing a thick, gelatinous inner layer. A large sperm mass occupies the bulbous end of the spermatodose, while a thin sperm-tube leads from the sperm mass, along the center of the elongated neck of the spermatodose, and appears to exit at the pointed-tip of the spermatodose. Feather-like bundles of sperm (spermatodesms) were clearly visible within the sperm mass and also appeared to be present within the sperm-tube. The wall of the sperm tube appeared to be composed of material similar to that of the outer layer of the spermatodose. Within the spermatheca, spermatodoses appeared to be stratified in that only one of them ever occupied the position nearest to the spermathecal duct. The possible function of spermatodoses is discussed: it is proposed that they have evolved as a result of sexual conflict and function to protect the sperm from being destroyed by the female while they are in storage.
CitationVahed, K. (2003), Structure of spermatodoses in shield-back bushcrickets (Tettigoniidae, Tettigoniinae). J. Morphol., 257: 45–52. doi: 10.1002/jmor.10110
JournalJournal of Morphology
Series/Report no.Vol. 257