Spermiogenesis in the imbricate alligator lizard, Barisia imbricata (Reptilia, Squamata, Anguidae)

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Abstract

Although the events of spermiogenesis are commonly studied in amniotes, the amount of research available for Squamata is lacking. Many studies have described the morphological characteristics of mature spermatozoa in squamates, but few detail the ultrastructural changes that occur during spermiogenesis. This study's purpose is to gain a better understanding of the subcellular events of spermatid development within the Imbricate Alligator Lizard, Barisia imbricata. The morphological data presented here represent the first complete ultrastructural study of spermiogenesis within the family Anguidae. Samples of testes from four specimens collected on the northwest side of the Nevado de Toluca, México, were prepared using standard techniques for transmission electron microscopy. Many of the ultrastructural changes occurring during spermiogenesis within B. imbricata are similar to that of other squamates (i.e., early acrosome formation, chromatin condensation, flagella formation, annulus present, and a prominent manchette). However, there are a few unique characteristics within B. imbricata spermatids that to date have not been described during spermiogenesis in other squamates. For example, penetration of the acrosomal granule into the subacrosomal space to form the basal plate of the perforatorium during round spermatid development, the clover-shaped morphology of the developing nuclear fossa of the flagellum, and the bulbous shape to the perforatorium are all unique to the Imbricate Alligator Lizard. These anatomical character differences may be valuable nontraditional data that along with more traditional matrices (such as DNA sequences and gross morphological data) may help elucidate phylogenetic relationships, which are historically considered controversial within Squamata. J. Morphol., 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Ancillary