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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT To further elucidate the reproductive processes of the snow crab Chionoecetes opilio (O. Fabricius) the first and second gonopods of adult specimens were examined using scanning electron microscopy and histology. Surface features and setal types are described for both gonopods. The gonopods are highly modified compared to other brachyuran crabs and lower crustaceans. Suggestions for setal function are presented, based on size, orientation, location, fine structure, and cuticular insertion. Tubulation of the endopod is observed in both the first and second gonopods. Rosette glands are abundant in the basal half of the first gonopod, but are absent in the second gonopod. A duct network from the rosette glands terminates in cuticular pores that are restricted to the ejaculatory canal, indicating that the rosette glands function in copulation, probably contributing to the seminal fluids. A mechanism for transfer of seminal fluids is proposed, based on the relative sizes of the gonopods and the morphology of the second gonopod.


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