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Tissue Cell. 2012 Feb;44(1):32-46. doi: 10.1016/j.tice.2011.10.003. Epub 2011 Nov 5.

The ultrastructure of the ejaculatory duct in the springtail Orchesella villosa (Geoffroy) (Hexapoda, Collembola) and the formation of the spermatophore.

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Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.


The initial part of the ejaculatory duct of Orchesella villosa contains a "valve" and a "sorter" avoiding respectively the reflow and allowing the separation of the secretion for the spermatophore stalk from the sperm fluid. For most of its length, the ejaculatory duct lumen is divided into two parts: in the dorsal part the sperm fluid flows while in the ventral district the secretion for the stalk occurs. Laterally, on both sides of the duct, longitudinal muscle fibers are present. The epithelium of the dorsal region consists of two types of long secretory cells; the most peculiar of them are those provided with extracellular cisterns flowing directly into the duct lumen as it occurs in 1st type of epidermal cells. These cells could be involved in the control of the viscosity of the sperm fluid. The second type of cells produce a secretion probably involved in the formation of the outer coat of the apical sperm droplet. The ventral epithelium consists of short cells contributing to the enrichment of the secretion for the spermatophore stalk and perhaps also to the viscosity of the secretion flowing in the lumen. In the distal part of the ejaculatory duct, the ventral district is provided with a thick layer of muscle fibers and with 3+3 cuticular laminae dividing the lumen into a series of slits through which the secretion of the stalk is squeezed out into filaments. This organization allows the twisting and hardening of these filaments. A drop of sperm fluid is laid on top of the long and rigid spermatophore stalk.

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