Male and female reproductive morphology in the inseminating genus Astroblepus (Ostariophysi: Siluriformes: Astroblepidae)

Maria Angélica Spadella, Claudio Oliveira, Hernán Ortega, Irani Quagio-Grassiotto, John R. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The structure of the reproductive organs of males and females of four species of Astroblepus were studied by light microscopy and TEM. In females, the gonadal and urinary orifices are separated. The urinary pore opens at the tip of a urinary papilla. In males, the testes conform to the anastomosing tubular type. Spermatogenesis is partially cystic, with most spermatid stages taking place within the lumen of the seminiferous tubules. The sperm ducts pass through seminal vesicles. The main sperm ducts fuse and join the urinary duct to form a urogenital duct that passes through to the tip of an long urogenital papilla. A circularly arranged skeletal muscle at the base of the urogenital papilla probably serves as a sphincter. The spermatozoon is an anacrosomal introsperm with an elongate, conical nucleus and an elongate midpiece. The midpiece contains numerous fused mitochondria that form rings within the cytoplasmic collar, but no vesicles were observed. The flagellum has a classic 9. +. 2 axoneme with the A-tubules of the peripheral doublets being electron-dense. Two lateral fins on the posterior part of the flagellum have electron-dense termini. Nuclear chromatin is highly condensed, and the two centrioles are oriented perpendicularly to one another and are contained within a nuclear fossa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-48
Number of pages11
JournalZoologischer Anzeiger
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Mário C.C. de Pinna, Gino Asteaga Koo, Denis Orihuela Preising, and Edgardo Castro Belapatiño for their help during the collection expedition, and the E.M. Laboratory of Instituto de Biociências de Botucatu-Universidade Estadual Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil for allowing the use of their facilities. This research was supported by the Brazilian agencies Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico . Thanks are also extended to Stanley Weitzman and Richard Vari for help with obtaining specimens from National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA (USNM).

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Insemination
  • Intromittent organ
  • Introsperm
  • Partially cystic spermatogenesis
  • Sperm ultrastructure


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