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Sperm storage, sperm translocation and genitalia formation in females of the terrestrial isopod Armadillidium vulgare (Crustacea, Peracarida, Isopoda)

Ziegler, Andreas, Suzuki, Sachiko
Arthropod structure & development 2011 v.40 no.1 pp. 64-76
Armadillidium vulgare, females, spermatozoa, fertilization (reproduction), female genitalia, oviducts, animal cuticle, ultrastructure, microstructure, apolysis, insemination, sperm motility, oviposition, myocytes, turgor, epithelial cells
We investigated sperm storage, sperm transfer from the oviduct to the seminal receptacle, and formation of the cuticular genitalia in female Armadillidium vulgare using light and electron microscopy. Apolysis of the genitalia within the oviduct forms a circum-genital lumen. During insemination this space is filled with immobile spermatozoa. Sperm transfer into the seminal receptacle takes place before oviposition. Within a peculiar proximal neck region of the oviduct spermatozoa are bundled and enveloped by a folded epicuticular layer. The envelope tightly surrounds the spermatozoa probably forming a seal against the main part of the circum-genital lumen. We propose that hydrostatic pressure produced by the muscle cells surrounding the oviduct leads to sperm transfer into the seminal receptacle. Within the seminal receptacle the sperm bundle forms a ring just around the orifice to the oviduct. At one side sheath-like extensions of epithelial cells surround the ring of spermatozoa holding it in place. At the other side oocytes would have access to the sperm during oviposition, probably allowing for fertilisation when they pass right through the ring of spermatozoa. After oviposition the new genitalia are formed from epicuticular folds, and cuticle secreted by the epithelial cells.