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Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2007 Mar;290(3):311-23.

Comparative spermatogenesis, spermatocytogenesis, and spermatozeugmata formation in males of viviparous species of clinid fishes (Teleostei: Clinidae, Blennioidei).

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Department of Zoology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


Spermatogenesis and spermatocytogenesis in 16 species of viviparous clinid fishes (Clinidae, Blennioidei) from various localities were followed for the first time by means of light and electron microscopy. The testes of the studied species are of the lobular type, with germinal stem cells situated at the apical ends of the lobules and a vas efferens along the internal margin. Maturation of the spermatides takes place in spermatocysts formed by Sertoli cells around the B-spermatogonia. The gradual condensation and relocation of the chromosomes along the nuclei membranes are highly prominent in this process, which can be divided into several stages. Anisodiametric and slightly flattened sperm heads are eventually formed, 0.4-0.5 microm in diameter and 7.5 +/- 1 microm long, bearing 80 +/- 15 microm long flagella. The sperms are packed into spermatozeugmata within the spermatocysts, enveloped and penetrated by the mucotic material of the Sertoli cells. With division of the germ cells and maturation of the spermatids, the spermatocyst dimensions increase, attaining 40 +/- 8 microm in diameter in the smaller species of Heteroclinus, and up to 90 +/- 10 microm in the larger males of Clinus superciliosus and C. cottoides. Accordingly, the volume of the maturing spermatocysts attains ca. 1,300 +/- 100 microm(3) in the smaller species, and ca. 6,500 +/- 300 microm(3) in the larger ones. As sperm head volume is ca. 2.24 microm(3), the number of sperm in the smallest mature spermatocysts reaches ca. 440 and in the largest over 2,900. Upon release from the cysts, the spermatozeugmata are transported along the sperm ducts to the posterior ampullae where they are stored in the epididymis. During copulation, the sperms are transported from there to the female via the intromittent organ. The sperm formation parameters and their structure and numbers are discussed.

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