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Aquatic Biology

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AB 12:271-280 (2011)  -  DOI:

Reproductive system of the male hermit crab ­Clibanarius sclopetarius: gonopore, spermatophore, and spermatozoal morphologies

Nathália M. Santos, Fernando L. Mantelatto*

Laboratory of Bioecology and Crustacean Systematics (LBSC), Department of Biology, Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP), University of São Paulo (USP), Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, CEP 14040-901, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: In the present study, the morphology and biometry of the spermatophores of the western Atlantic hermit crab Clibanarius sclopetarius (Herbst, 1796) are described, and the results are placed in the context of the Paguroidea, in particular the Diogenidae. Individuals of C. sclopetarius were sampled from a human-impacted mangrove area of southern Brazil. The male reproductive system was removed, measured and analyzed using stereoscopic, light, transmission-electron and scanning-electron microscopy. This system is composed of lobular testes connected to the vas deferens, and gonopores with membranous coverage. The mature spermatophore consists of a spherical pack that stores sperm. These cells consist of a spherical acrosomal vesicle, an amorphous cytoplasm and a distal nucleus. The results revealed that the gonopores, testis and vas deferens have the expected characteristics of the family Diogenidae, while the non-tripartite morphology of the spermatophores and the sperm follow the patterns found only in the genus Clibanarius, and the presence of the dense perforatorial ring is, to date, unique in the species of the genus, being a possible apomorphic characteristic.

KEY WORDS: Diogenidae · Reproduction · Spermatophores · Sperm · Spermiotaxonomy

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Cite this article as: Santos NM, Mantelatto FL (2011) Reproductive system of the male hermit crab ­Clibanarius sclopetarius: gonopore, spermatophore, and spermatozoal morphologies. Aquat Biol 12:271-280.

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