Comparative histology of the testes of the spined loach Cobitis taenia L. and natural allotetraploids of Cobitis (Pisces, Cobitidae)
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- Juchno, D. & Boroń, A. Hydrobiologia (2006) 573: 45. doi:10.1007/s10750-006-0255-4
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The spined loach Cobitis taenia L. creates exclusively diploid and mixed diploid–polyploid populations. Allotriploid females, which co-exist with C. taenia or C. elongatoides and a few tetraploid males and females dominate in most Cobitis mixed populations. They reproduce gynogenetically and produce triploid eggs that are stimulated to development by sperm from Cobitis males. Some of these eggs are fertilized, which leads to the production of bisexual tetraploids. Males of C. taenia (2n = 48) from a diploid population in Lake Klawój, Northern Poland (46 individuals) and from a mixed Cobitis population in the Bug River, Eastern Poland (7 individuals), and three tetraploid males (4n = 98) from the same mixed population were examined. All the fish were analyzed karyologically and histologically. Tubules with cysts of the testes of C. taenia from both populations were filled with germ cells at various developmental stages. Among fishes from Lake Klawój sperm maturation in batches simultaneous with the batch spawning of C. taenia females was found. The testes of the loach C. taenia, from a mixed population in the Bug River, were filled with spermatozoa over the entire reproductive season. Sperm maturation in batches was not observed. Sperm maturation in batches seems to be only connected with a few diploid males in this population. So, a continuous process of spermatogenesis in their testes is required. Only in the testes of all tetraploid Cobitis males were cells characteristic of the early stages of spermatogenesis observed, i.e. without spermatids and spermatozoa. Furthermore, the histological sections of the testis of a male captured in August, revealed fragments with connective tissue between the germ cells. However the participation of tetraploid, infertile Cobitis males in the process of reproduction in the investigated mixed population remains controversial. The results obtained so far, reveal that even the infertile sperm of tetraploid males may induce gynogenesis in Cobitis triploid females.