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Sperm storage in Hemidactylus mabouia: Morphological and ultrastructural aspects of a reproductive strategy

Nogueira, Katiane de Oliveira Pinto Coelho, Sartori, Sirlene Souza Rodrigues, Araújo, Vinícius Albano, Neves, Clóvis Andrade, Kolisnyk, Benjamin
Animal reproduction science 2015 v.159 pp. 212-216
Hemidactylus, chemotaxis, eggs, females, lizards, males, oviducts, scanning electron microscopy, spermatozoa, vagina
Sperm storage is a common phenomenon in most female reptiles. Evidence of sperm storage is based on the observation that female fertilization occurs even when females are separated from males, as well as the presence of agglomerates of spermatozoa in specific regions of the oviducts. Lizards are capable of storing sperm in the uterine tube, vagina, or in both regions. However, representatives of the Gekkonidae family commonly store spermatozoa in the uterine tube, which is considered an ancestral character state for Squamates. Using comparative techniques of light, transmission and scanning electron microscopy, we observed stored sperm organized in compact bundles with their heads facing the bottom of the crypts of the uterine tube, indicating chemotactic attraction. The alignment and packing of spermatozoa in Hemidactylus mabouia indicates that the process of evacuation of the crypts for fertilization may be related to the passage of the egg that exerts mechanical pressure against the walls of the uterine tube, causing its distension and the release of spermatozoa. We conclude that the sperm storage region and the morphological organization of the crypts in the uterine tube of H. mabouia is similar to other previously studied species of lizards, supporting the notion that sperm storage is a common reproductive strategy among female reptiles.