Biagi, Francesca and Piras, Francesca and Farina, Vittorio and Zedda, Marco and Mura, Emilio and Floris, Antonello and Franzoi, Piero and Fausto, Anna Maria and Taddei, Anna Rita and Carcupino, Marcella (2014) Testis structure, spermatogenesis and sperm morphology in pipefishes of the genus Syngnathus. Acta Zoologica , in press. eISSN 1463-6395. Article.
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Testes, spermatogenesis and sperm morphology have been analysed in four species of the Syngnathus genus. All species show testes of unrestricted lobular type, characterized by a single germinal compartment, with central lumen, and an external tunica albuginea. The spermatogenesis occurs throughout a process of semicystic type, in which germinal spermatocysts open precociously, so germ cells complete maturation in the testis lumen. Amongst them, aflagellate and flagellate multinucleate cells are recognizable. This type of spermatogenesis may be therefore related to the reduced number of simultaneously mature sperm produced by syngnathids. Only one type of mature sperm has been identified in all examined species. It is always a monoflagellate cell, characterized by an elongated head. Elongated head has generally been correlated with the internal fertilization and/or to the production of spermatophore. As this is not the case of syngnathids, a possible function to explain the particularly elongated head of syngnathids is discussed.
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