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Tissue Cell. 2003 Feb;35(1):19-27.

New findings on sperm ultrastructure of Xenos vesparum (Rossi) (Strepsiptera, Insecta).

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia Evolutiva, University of Siena, Via A Moro 2, IT-53100 Siena, Italy. dallai@unisi.it


The systematic position of insect order Strepsiptera is still under debate. It was, therefore, thought of interest to examine the ultrastructure of a strepsipteran in a search for synapomorphies shared with Coleoptera, Diptera, or any other insect order. The fine structure of spermatozoa and the spermatid from Xenos vesparum (Rossi) was re-examined using scanning and transmission electron microscopy and a fixation technique that permits the visualization of the macromolecular organization of the organelles. The spermatozoon was shown to possess several traits that are characteristics of insects in general, such as a 9 + 9 + 2 axoneme, two mitochondrial derivatives containing a crystalline material and two 'zipper lines' present along the sperm tail. Seventeen protofilaments occurred along most of the accessory tubules, which reduced to 16 posteriorly. An acrosome is absent. The neck region contains a prominent centriolar adjunct, which gives rise to two accessory bodies which adhere to the mitochondrial derivatives, and to slender strands of the so-called intertubular material found between the accessory tubules. Of interest is the finding that the glycocalyx consists of prominent filamentous strands, similar to those found in siphonapterans, mecopterans and basal dipterans.

Copyright 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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