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Keywords:

  • Decapoda;
  • gonopores;
  • morphology;
  • reproduction;
  • testes;
  • vas deferens

Abstract

Spermatozoa of most crustacean species are nonmotile and are packed into spermatophores. In Decapoda, spermatophores are highly variable in morphology and can be useful in the solving of taxonomic and systematic questions, especially among the Anomura. In this study, the morphology and morphometry of the spermatophores of the western Atlantic hermit crabs Pagurus brevidactylus and P. criniticornis are described. The abdomen of fresh male specimens was dissected to expose the reproductive system and to extract the spermatophores, which were analyzed by stereoscopic, light, and scanning electron microscopy. The vas deferens can be divided macroscopically in three regions, all of them containing spermatophores. Tripartite spermatophores are composed of an elongated cylindrical main ampulla, a triangular accessory ampulla, a narrow cylindrical peduncle, and a round pedestal. Dimensions of the spermatophore components are positively correlated to the size of the crab. Morphological patterns observed in this study resemble those of other pagurid hermit crabs investigated to date. The morphological character distribution confirms classifications based on adult morphology and molecular analysis. J. Morphol. 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.