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The Annual Spermatogenetic Cycle of Tarentola mauritanica L. (Reptilia, Gekkonidae)

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

The gecko Tarentola mauritanica L. of southern Italy shows seemingly a tendentially continuous spermatogenetic cycle throughout the year. However, the amount of sperms produced at the level of the seminiferous tubules varies remarkably in the different months of the year: it is maximum in spring and in early summer, whereas it markedly decreases in June-July, when a drastic reduction in spermatogonial mitoses is observed. The slowing down in the spermatogonial activity not involves the complete disappearance of any definite cell stage of gametogenesis, but spermatogenesis is strongly reduced. In winter there is another slowing down in spermatogenesis, anyhow some new spermatozoa continue to form and to be released, though in extremely limited amounts. The general pattern of spermatogenesis is, therefore, of mixed or thermo-rigostatic type. The epididymis appears well developed throughout the year, showing only in wintera decreased amount of secretion. The epididymal tail acts as a system of spermatozoa storage, so that it is always full of sperms also in the period when the gametogenetic activity is at its minimum.

Affiliations: 1: Istituto di Istologia ed Embriologia - Università di Napoli; 2: Istituto e Museo di Zoologia, Università di Napoli. Via Mezzocannone, 8. 1-80134 Napoli, Italy


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