The testicular cycle of Gambusia affinis holbrooki (Teleostei: Poeciliidae)


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Fifteen male mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis holbrooki) were collected in 1989 on the 15th of each month to perform a quantitative histologic study of the annual testicular cycle including a calculation of the gonadosomatic index, testicular volume, and the total volume per testis occupied by each germ cell type. The cycle comprises two periods: spermatogenesis and quiescence. The spermatogenic period begins in April with the development of primary spermatogonia into secondary spermatogonia, spermatocytes and round spermatids. In May, the first spermatogenic wave is completed and the testicular volume begins to increase up to June when the maximum testicular volume and gonadosomatic index are reached. Germ cell proliferation with successive spermatogenetic waves continues until August. In September germ cell proliferation ceases and neither secondary spermatogonia nor spermatocytes are observed. However, spermiogenesis continues until October. In November, spermiogenesis has stopped and the testis enters the quiescent period up to April. During this period only primary spermatogonia and spermatozoa are present in the testis. In addition, a few spermatids whose spermiogenesis was arrested in November are observed. Testicular release of spermatozoa is continuous during the entire spermatogenesis period. The spermatozoa formed at the end of this period (September-October) remain in the testis during the quiescent period and are released at the beginning of the next spermatogenesis period in April. Developed Leydig cells appear all year long in the testicular interstitium, mainly around both efferent ducts and the testicular tubule sections showing S4 spermatids.