A review of spermatozoan morphology in Cetacea with new data for the genus Kogia


S. Plön. Current address: Port Elizabeth Museum & Oceanarium/Bayworld, Humewood, PO Box 13147, Port Elizabeth 6013, South Africa.
Email: stephanie@bayworld.co.za


There have been few studies on the morphology of spermatozoa of the Cetacea. Here we present a review of the existing published material and present new data for spermatozoa of Kogia breviceps, Kogia sima and Delphinus delphis. In contrast to the usual spiral arrangement of mitochondria in the midpiece of mammalian sperm, cetaceans exhibit a unique arrangement of spherical mitochondria arranged in tiers and columns along the midpiece, which is primitive in appearance. In addition, the midpiece of the cetacean spermatozoon is much shorter than that of other mammalian orders. Detailed knowledge of the morphology of the spermatozoa of cetaceans may help elucidate aspects of male reproduction and the fertilization process in this group.