The spermatophore and its structural changes with time in the bursa copulatrix of the silkworm, Bombyx mori

Authors

  • Professor Minoru Osanai,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, 35-2 Sakaecho, Itabashiku, 173 Tokyo, Japan
    • Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, 35-2 Sakaecho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo-173, Japan
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  • Hiroko Kasuga,

    1. Department of Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, 35-2 Sakaecho, Itabashiku, 173 Tokyo, Japan
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  • Toshiro Aigaki

    1. Department of Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, 35-2 Sakaecho, Itabashiku, 173 Tokyo, Japan
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Abstract

The bursa copulatrix of the silkmoth is filled with various secretions and seminal fluid transferred from the male reproductive system during mating. The contents of the bursa include a pearly body, spermatophragma, and spermatophore. The latter consists of a four-layered wall, an inner and outer matrix, and a soft plug. The components of the spermatophore are all heterogeneous, since they are formed by the partially mixed, viscous streams of the male secretions. Apyrene spermatozoa and eupyrene bundles are present only in the inner matrix, but both the matrices are important sites of sperm maturation. After spermatophore formation, the basophilic regions and periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-granules in both matrices gradually decrease with time. The PAS-granules were identified as glycogen by α-amylase treatment. The inner matrix containing sperm and the outer matrix decrease in volume and become concentrated near the neck of the spermatophore. Apyrene and eupyrene spermatozoa can move toward the ductus seminalis after their maturation. A large, beltlike space which does not stain remains at the periphery of the spermatophore. These structural changes of spermatophore contents seem to reflect metabolic reactions in the spermatophore as the reactor for sperm maturation.

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