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STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM OF THE SYMBIOTIC SPIDER CRAB INACHUS PHALANGIUM (DECAPODA: MAJIDAE): OBSERVATIONS ON SPERM TRANSFER, SPERM STORAGE, AND SPAWNING

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ABSTRACT The structure and function of the reproductive tracts of the spider crab Inachus phalangium were investigated, focusing on sperm transfer, sperm storage in the seminal receptacles, and spawning. Males produce and store spermatophores as well as part of the seminal fluid in the anterior and median vas deferens. The major part of the seminal fluid is produced and stored in the posterior vas deferens. Rosette glands fill the basal third of the first pleopods and open into pores on the pleopod tips. It is suggested that their secretions mix with seminal fluid during copulation and cause hardening of the seminal products. A male's ejaculate consists of sperm gel and a sperm packet formed by densely packed spermatophores. The seminal receptacle consists of a dorsal sperm storage and a ventral insemination chamber, separated by the muscular velum. The sperm storage chamber wall is lined with holocrine gland epithelium which secretes into the receptacle lumen. Shortly before spawning an oviduct opens ventrally into the insemination chamber, which is connected by the vagina with the sternum. During spawning some spermatophores at the ventral part of the lowest sperm packet are dissolved, and the sperm form a suspension in the insemination chamber, where passing oocytes are inseminated. The flexible vagina is opened for mating and spawning by muscular contractions. Females may store sperm for over 6 months and can fertilize up to 6 broods without remating.

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/content/journals/10.1163/193724089x00089
1989-01-01
2015-01-30

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