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J Morphol. 2014 Mar;275(3):247-57. doi: 10.1002/jmor.20200. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

Structure of the female gonoduct of the viviparous teleost Poecilia reticulata (Poeciliidae) during nongestation and gestation stages.

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Departamento de Biología Comparada, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, México, DF 04510.


Female teleosts do not have oviducts because Müllerian ducts do not develop. Instead, the caudal region of the ovary, the gonoduct, connects to the exterior. Because of the lack of oviducts in viviparous teleosts, the embryos develop in the ovary, as an intraovarian gestation, unique in vertebrates. This is the first study to address the histology of the gonoduct in a viviparous teleost. The gonoduct of Poecilia reticulata was analyzed during previtellogenesis, vitellogenesis, and gestation. The gonoduct lacks germinal cells. From deep to superficial, the wall has simple cuboidal or columnar epithelium, loose connective tissue, longitudinal layer of smooth muscle, and visceral peritoneum. Cells of the immune system occur in the lumen and in the mucosa. The gonoduct was divided in three regions: 1) cephalic, 2) middle, and 3) caudal. At the initial part of each region, thin mucosal folds extend into the lumen. The cephalic region forms a tubular structure with light and irregular folds. The middle region has a wider lumen and is more irregular due to ventral invaginations and irregular and short mucosal folds; beneath the epithelium there are melano-macrophage centers. The caudal region is delimited from the middle region by folds; however, they are thinner than these of the other regions. Ventral invaginations form exocrine glands, and the smooth muscle is thicker than in the other regions. During gestation, cells of the immune system are abundant; melano-macrophage centers become larger and the glands exhibit desquamated cells. These observations suggest roles of the gonoduct in reducing the diameter of the lumen; receiving sperm during vitellogenesis; producing secretions, more abundant during vitellogenesis; and in immunological activity throughout the reproductive cycle. The ciliated epithelium and the thick muscle of the caudal region may be involved during birth.


Poecilia reticulata; gonoduct; histology; ovary; viviparous fishes

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