Sperm ultrastructure in Culmenella rezvoji (Lindholm, 1929) (Gastropoda: Hygrophila)

E. V. Soldatenko, A. B. Shatrov, A. A. Petrov, T. Ya. Sitnikova

Abstract


The taxonomic position of the genus Culmenella within Hygrophila remains uncertain. The spermatozoa of Culmenella rezvoji, a species from  the Far East of Russia, were examined using a combination of light, scanning and transmission electron microscopy with the objective to assess the utility of sperm characters for clarifying the phylogenetic relationships of the genus. The spermatozoa of C. rezvoji are divided into four regions: head, midpiece, glycogen piece and endpiece. The head contains a slender, cone-shaped acrosome and a conical nucleus with a sinistrally coiled keel. The acrosome consists of an apical vesicle and a thick-walled pedestal with an electron lucent canal partially filled with a patchy electron-dense material. The midpiece contains the mitochondrial derivative that encloses apically three parallel glycogen-filled tracts (helices) positioned in such a way that in the sperm cross section two helices lie opposite each other and equidistant from the third helix. The surface of the sperm above one of the helices forms a high, narrow ridge; the ridges above the remaining two helices have a much lower profile. The boundary between the midpiece and glycogen piece is demarcated by a constriction (annulus) consisting of an anterior electron-dense ring and a posterior conical cylinder connected to the ring with thin filaments. The structure of spermatozoa in Culmenella is consistent with the general pattern of sperm morphology common to all studied species of Hygrophila, but the spermatozoa of Culmenella also have distinctive characters (three glycogen helices and high-profile surface ridge in the apical portion of the midpiece) that should be potentially useful in resolving the taxonomic position of this genus. 


Keywords


spermatozoa; sperm morphology; taxonomy; freshwater pulmonates; phylogenetic relationships

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