Piras, Francesca and Biagi, Francesca and Taddei, Anna Rita and Fausto, Anna Maria and Farina, Vittorio and Zedda, Marco and Floris, Antonello and Franzoi, Piero and Carcupino, Marcella (2015) Male gonads morphology, spermatogenesis and sperm ultrastructure of the seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus (Syngnathidae). Acta Zoologica (in press). eISSN 1463-6395. Article.
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Testes morphology, spermatogenetic process and mature sperm ultrastructure were analysed in Hippocampus guttulatus, using both light and transmission electron microscopy. Both testes were organized in a single large germinal compartment, with a central lumen. Spermatocysts only contained spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes. Inside the testis lumen, together with mature sperm, two types of large mono-nucleate cells, flagellate and aflagellate, were present. Both types of cells were interpreted as developing germ cells precociously released inside the testis lumen, where their maturation was completed. According to the different morphological features of the nuclei, such as chromatin condensation degree, aspect of the nuclear fossa and others, the flagellate cells were unquestionably developing spermatids. On the contrary, the developmental stage of the aflagellate was more difficult to interpreted. They could be secondary spermatocytes or young spermatids. No dimorphic sperm were recognizable, the only sperm type observed have features typical of the intro-sperm reports in other syngnathids species. They had a cylindrical head, a short midpiece, characterized by two mitochondrial rings housed inside a cytoplasmic collar, and a long flagellum. These and previous data about the same topic reported on other syngnathids species were compared and discussed.
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