oa African Zoology - Comparative spermatology of two morphologically similar species of Solen (Mollusca: Bivalvia)

Volume 22, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The fine structure of the spermatozoa and spermatogenesis in Solen cylindraceus and S. capensis were studied by electron microscopy. The morphology of the sperm of both species is similar. Both are of the primitive type with a head about 1.5 �m long), mid-piece of five mitochondria, and tail. The head comprises a barrel-shaped electron-opaque nucleus (about 1,1 �m x 1,2 �m) which is capped by a small conical acrosome. The morphology of the acrosome of Solen is typical of heterodont bivalves, however, each species has an acrosome of differing dimensions which can thus be used to separate these two closely related bivalves. During spermatogenesis the pattern of nuclear chromatin condensation is granular. The acrosome is formed by a single Golgi body. and the five large mitochondria of the mid-piece are probably formed by fusion of several small mitochondria.

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