Origin and nature of spermatophoric mass of the spiny lobster Panulirus homarus
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- Radha, T. & Subramoniam, T. Marine Biology (1985) 86: 13. doi:10.1007/BF00392575
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In the spiny lobster Panulirus homarus (Linnaeus) the spermatophoric mass consists of a highly convoluted tube, containing the sperm mass and a gelatinous matrix. The spermatophoric components have their origin in the proximal vas deferens and the completed spermatophoric mass is stored within the distal dilated part of the vas deferens. In the proximal vas deferens the inner glandular epithelial cells give rise to leaf-like typhlosoles which gradually diminish in size and finally disappear in the distal vas deferens. The secretions originating from the typhlosole form the outer gelatinous matrix of the spermatophoric mass. Histochemical observations reveal that the wall of the spermatophore tube consists of neutral mucopolysaccharide, whereas the sperm mass and the gelatinous matrix are rich in acidic mucopolysaccharides. Both polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and agarose gel electrophoresis were used to separate the acidic mucopolysaccharide (AMPS) complexed with the proteins and the simple proteins. In addition, AMPS have been isolated following the method of Rahemtulla and Lovtrup (1974) and used for electrophoresis. In both the polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and agarose gel electrophoresis, the extracted acid mucopolysaccharides give only a single fraction which, in comparison with the standard acid mucopolysaccharides, corresponds to chondroitin sulphate. The functional significance of the chondroitin sulphate and neutral mucopolysaccharides in the spermatophoric components of P. homarus is discussed in relation to their functional role in spermatophore hardening and protection of the delicate spermatozoa during their prolonged storage on the sternum of the female.