• helmet crab;
  • mating season;
  • reproductive cycle;
  • Telmessus cheiragonus;
  • testicular maturation

ABSTRACT:  To clarify the annual testicular maturation cycle in the helmet crab Telmessus cheiragonus, seasonal histological changes of the testis and occurrence of grasping pairs and recently copulated females with fresh sperm plugs were investigated. The testis was composed of seminiferous ducts with many testicular lobules. Development of the lobules was divided into six stages (spermatogonia proliferation, first spermatocyte, reduction division, spermatid, spermiogenesis and free sperm stage) based on the spermatogenic phase of the germ cells in each lobule. The mean percentage of the lobules during each stage was calculated every 1–3 months. Developed lobules occurred with a high percentage throughout the year except in June when developing lobules predominated. Grasping pairs and females with fresh sperm plugs were collected during April–July with a peak in May–June. These results suggest that the males have testis with many developing lobules in June when they are active for mating. Newly formed spermatozoa may be stored in the testis and the vas deferens until the next mating season after June, as the spermatozoa may not have an opportunity to fertilize eggs until the next season and there is no sign of spermatozoa absorption in the testis.