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Keywords:

  • Portuguese dogfish;
  • sperm storage;
  • oviducal gland;
  • seminal vesicle;
  • sperm storage tubules;
  • reproduction

Abstract

Sperm storage in males and females was studied for the deepwater shark Portuguese dogfish Centroscymnus coelolepis. In males, sperm is stored in the seminal vesicle from early maturity stages until mating. The epithelium of the seminal vesicle secretes an acid mucopolysaccharide that might preserve sperm until it is released. The oviducal gland (OG) presents the four distinct zones described for other elasmobranchs: club, papillary, baffle and terminal. Mature, pregnant, resting and regenerating females are able to store sperm in the terminal zone. Sperm was found within sperm storage tubules (SSTs), involved by a secretory matrix. The localization of SSTs deeper in the OG suggests long-term sperm storage, which is in agreement with the long reproductive cycle described for this species. Sperm storage is an advantage for this deepwater species that presents sexual segregation and lives in a food-constrained environment, increasing the efficiency in reproduction.