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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The androgenic glands, which are epithelial endocrine glands of Crustacea, are known to control differentiation and functioning of the male sexual characteristics. In the crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Decapoda, Reptantia), however, the function of this gland is not clear. In the present study, the relationships among development of the testis, secondary sexual characteristics (i.e., the copulatory appendages), and the androgenic gland in male crayfish were observed. Morphological differentiation of the first and second pairs of abdominal appendages (i.e., the copulatory appendages) of male crayfish were divided into 5 stages, from stage A to stage E. At stage A, the androgenic glands had already appeared. The male characteristics of external morphology appeared on the abdominal appendages at stage A also. At stage B, the glands were small and had the appearance of an extended string. From stage B to stage C, the number of androgenic gland cells increased, and the gland cells were large. At stages B and C, the first and second abdominal appendages were completely differentiated. Testes of crayfish with stage A appendages are immature. Increase in the number of spermatogonia at stage B, spermatogenesis at stage C, and release of spermatozoa from the testis at stage D, were observed. These results suggest androgenic gland control of differentiation, development of the testes, and secondary sexual characteristics.


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