Eur. J. Entomol. 104 (4): 777-785, 2007 | 10.14411/eje.2007.099

Spermathecal morphology and sperm dynamics in the female Schizocosa malitiosa (Araneae: Lycosidae)

Gonzalo USETA1, Bernhard A. HUBER2, Fernando G. COSTA1
1 Laboratorio de Etología, Ecología & Evolución, Instituto Clemente Estable, Av. Italia 3318, 11600 Montevideo, Uruguay; e-mails: gonzak@gmail.com, fgc@iibce.edu.uy
2 Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Adenauerallee 160, 53113 Bonn, Germany; e-mail: b.huber.zfmk@uni-bonn.de

The linkage between spermathecal morphology and sperm dynamics was experimentally analysed in Schizocosa malitiosa (Tullgren, 1905) using histological serial sections and SEM. We recognised three connected sections for each spermatheca: basal atrium, stalk and head. The head ends blindly, is sclerotized, provided with few large pores, and surrounded by thick, presumably glandular epithelium. The atrium is also sclerotized, and connects with both copulatory and fertilization ducts, lying close to each other. A porous plate is located in the stalk-atrium connection. Nine adult females were fixed in eight reproductive conditions for reconstructing sperm dynamics: virgin, immediately after mating, one day after mating, three days after mating, one day after remating without oviposition (first male with a single useful palp, second male normal), immediately before oviposition, three days after oviposition, and one day after remating with oviposition (female had eaten first egg-sac and had remated). Our results suggest female control of sperm transport because the penetration of encapsulated sperm into the spermathecal head continues after mating. Stored sperm is maintained in an encapsulated condition until oviposition, when sperm is totally activated. Sperm cells may remain viable for a long time in the decapsulated state. There was evidence for sperm mixing in the female that remated after oviposition.

Keywords: Genital morphology, spermathecae design, sperm dynamics, reproductive strategies, wolf spiders

Received: January 23, 2007; Accepted: April 23, 2007; Published: October 15, 2007

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