, Volume 99, Issue 7, pp 587–590 | Cite as

Exceptionally well-preserved giant spermatozoa in male and female specimens of an ostracod Cypria ophtalmica (Crustacea: Ostracoda) from Late Glacial lacustrine sediments of Southern Carpathians, Romania

  • Sanda IepureEmail author
  • Tadeusz Namiotko
  • Antonio G. Valdecasas
  • Enikö K. Magyari
Short Communication


Exceptionally well-preserved giant spermatozoa observed between abundant decalcified carapace valves of ostracods (Crustacea: Ostracoda) were found in Late Glacial to Holocene (14,400 to 10,000 cal years bp) lacustrine sediments in the southern Romanian Carpathians. Analysis by scanning electron microscopy and laser scanning confocal microscopy revealed good preservation of the appendages enabling specific identification as Cypria ophtalmica (Candonidae) and indication of the presence of both female and male specimens based on the sexual dimorphism of the second antenna. This record represents the oldest and richest direct evidence of virtually morphologically unaltered animal spermatozoa preserved in females after mating.


Giant spermatozoa in females Exceptional preservation Ostracoda Romanian Carpathians Late Glacial Holocene 



S.I. was funded by POSDRU 89/1.5/S/60189 Romania and Institute of Speleology “Emil Racoviță” Cluj, Romania, A.V. by grant CGL2009–08943 from the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Spain, E.M. by PROLONG project sponsored by OTKA PD 73234 & NF 101362, and T.N. was partly funded by the EU Marie Curie Research Training Network SexAsex (MRTN-CT-2004-512492) and a grant of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education no. 71/6 PR UE/2005/7. SEM images of the soft parts were obtained during the visit of T.N. at the Zoological Museum of the University of Copenhagen supported from the SYNTHESYS Project (DK-TAF-1429) financed by the European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP7 "Capacities" Program. We are also grateful to Renate Matzke-Karasz (Munich) and two anonymous reviewers for their very useful comments and suggestions on the manuscript. This is a MTA-MTM-ELTE Paleo Contribution 170.


  1. Danielopol DL, Ito E, Wansard G, Kamiya T, Cronin T, Baltanás A (2002) Techniques for collection and study of Ostracoda. Geophys Monogr 131:65–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Iepure S, Namiotko T, Magyari EK (2011) Ostracod preservation and response to Late Glacial and Early Holocene climate changes in a sub-alpine belt lake of the southern Romanian Carpathians. Joannea Geol Paläontol 11:91–94Google Scholar
  3. Korponai J, Magyari EK, Buczkó K, Iepure S, Namiotko T, Czakó D, Kövér C, Braun M (2011) Cladocera response to Late Glacial to Early Holocene climate change in a South Carpathian mountain lake. Hydrobiologia 676:223–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Magyari EK, Braun M, Buczkó K, Kern K, László P, Hubay K, Bálint M (2009) Radiocarbon chronology of glacial lake sediments in the Retezat Mts (South Carpathians, Romania): a window to Late Glacial and Holocene climatic and paleoenvironmental changes. Cent Eur Geol 52:225–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Magyari EK, Major A, Bálint M, Nédli J, Braun M, Rácz I, Parducci L (2011) Population dynamics and genetic changes of Picea abies in the South Carpathians revealed by pollen and ancient DNA analyses. BMC Evol Biol 11:66PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Matzke-Karasz R (2005) Giant spermatozoon coiled in small egg: fertilization mechanisms and their implications for evolutionary studies on Ostracoda (Crustacea). J Exp Zool 304:129–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Matzke-Karasz R, Horne DC, Janz H, Griffiths HI, Hutchinson WF, Preece RC (2001) 5,000 year-old spermatozoa in Quaternary Ostracoda (Crustacea). Naturwissenschaften 88:268–272PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Matzke-Karasz R, Smith RJ, Symonova R, Miller CG, Tafforeau P (2009) Sexual intercourse involving giant sperm in Cretaceous ostracode. Science 324:1535PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Olempska E, Horne DJ, Szaniawski H (2012) First record of preserved soft parts in a Palaeozoic podocopid (Metcopina) ostracod, Cytherellina submagna: phylogenetic implications. Proc R Soc B 279:564–570PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Poinar G (2000) First fossil record of stalked spermatophores with sperm (Collembola: Hexapoda). Hist Biol 14:229–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Schindelin J (2008) “Fiji is just ImageJ (batteries included).” 2nd ImageJ User and Developer Conference. Luxemburg. Accessed 14 Jul 2011
  12. Tanaka G, Matsushima Y, Maeda H (2012) Holocene ostracods from the borehole core at Oppama Park, Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, central Japan: paleoenvironmental analysis and the discovery of a fossil ostracod with three-dimensionally preserved soft parts. Paleontol Res 16:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Wilkinson IP, Wilby PR, Williams M, Siveter DJ, Page AA, Leggitt L, Riley DA (2010) Exceptionally preserved ostracodes from a Middle Miocene palaeolake, California, USA. J Soc Geol Lond 167:817–825CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanda Iepure
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tadeusz Namiotko
    • 3
  • Antonio G. Valdecasas
    • 4
  • Enikö K. Magyari
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of GeologyBabes-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Institute of Speleology “Emil Racoviţă”Romanian AcademyCluj-NapocaRomania
  3. 3.Laboratory of Limnozoology, Department of GeneticsUniversity of GdańskGdańskPoland
  4. 4.Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary BiologyNational Museum of Natural History, CSICMadridSpain
  5. 5.Research Group for PaleontologyHungarian Academy of Sciences–Hungarian Natural History MuseumBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations