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Internal anatomy and ultrastructure of the male reproductive system of the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus (Decapoda: Astacidea)



The Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) is economically important in Europe. However, apart from the female reproductive system, very little is known about its internal anatomy. This article focuses on studying the internal anatomy and ultrastructure of the male reproductive system. This system follows the general pattern found among decapod crustaceans, with several peculiarities. Testes are composed of lobular sperm ducts in which the spermatozoa are fully constituted. The spermatozoa present three lateral arms and a long acrosome, which gives a false appearance of flagellated spermatozoa. The two testes form a double H under the heart, and the vas deferens (VD) arise from each side at the posterior edge of the double H. The main characteristic of the VD is the presence of a sphincter in the enlarged area of the distal end of the middle VD. The MVD here shows an increase in musculature of the wall as compared to the VD, which regulates the passage of the sperm cord to the distal VD (DVD) and thence to the thelycum of the female. The wall of the spermatophore is formed in the distal part of the proximal VD, which surrounds the unique sperm cord present in the VD. Isolated spermatophores are not observed in the VD. The sperm cord is pinched off during copulation by the musculature of the DVD. Then, a portion of the sperm cord is transferred from each VD to form the isolated spermatophores. The wall of the spematophores and the spermatozoa that are observed inside the thelycum have the same morphology as those observed in the VD. J. Morphol., 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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