Uncommon formation of two antiparallel sperm bundles per cyst in tenebrionid beetles (Coleoptera)
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Several species of Tenebrionidae are stored-grain pests. Since they belong to a specious family, the systematics of these beetles is still in doubt. In insects, spermatogenesis and the spermatozoa exhibit great diversity, and are therefore commonly used in phylogenetic and taxonomic analyses. During the spermatogenetic process in these organisms, the cells originating from a single spermatogonium develop synchronically in groups referred to as cysts. At the end of this process, there is usually only one sperm bundle per cyst, with all the cells in the same orientation. This paper details the spermiogenesis of the tenebrionid beetles Tenebrio molitor, Zophobas confusa, Tribolium castaneum and Palembus dermestoides using whole mount and histological sections of the cysts. In these species, spermatogenesis is similar to that which occurs in most insects. However, during spermiogenesis, the nuclei of the spermatids migrate to two opposite regions at the periphery of the cyst, leading to the uncommon formation of two bundles of spermatozoa per cyst. This feature is possibly an apomorphy for Tenebrionidae.
KeywordsSpermatozoa Spermatodesmata Tenebrionidae Spermatogenesis
The authors are grateful to Helen Santos (UFV) and two anonymous reviewers who provided valuable feedback on the manuscript. This research was supported by the Brazilian agencies Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG).
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