, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 181–194 | Cite as

Ultrastructure of the male nephridium and its role in spermatophore formation in spionid polychaetes (Annelida)

  • Stanley A. Rice


The mature male nephridia ofPolydora ligni andP. websteri (Polychaeta: Spionidae) are segmental organs composed of a ciliated nephrostome connected to a nephridial canal that crosses the intersegmental septum, expands into a large modified part extending dorsally through the coelom and subsequently narrows into a canal terminating in a dorsal nephridiopore. The nephridial canal is ciliated throughout and is composed of several cell types. Cells in the expanded region of the nephridia of both species contain large urn-shaped depressions filled with long microvilli. InP. ligni, one section of a nephridium contains cells packed with electron-dense granules that are not observed inP. websteri.

The spermatophores ofPolydora ligni are composed of a central sperm mass surrounded by a layer of randomly oriented tubules that form a capsule around the sperm and taper into a long thin tail. These tubules are identical in dimensions to the microvilli present in parts of a nephridium and apparently are derived from these microvilli. The spermatophore capsule ofP. websteri is composed of similar tubules also presumed to originate from nephridial microvilli.

The microvilli in nephridia of both species are surrounded with a glycocalyx that may function as an adhesive to hold the spermatophore capsule together. This glycocalyx may also function as a species specific message when encountered by a receptive female.


Developmental Biology Mature Male Receptive Female Modify Part Specific Message 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley A. Rice
    • 1
  1. 1.Harbor Branch Foundation, Inc. RR 1Fort PierceUSA

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