Sperm length variations in five species of cypridoidean non-marine ostracods (Crustacea)

Abstract

Spermatozoa of the ostracod superfamily Cypridoidea include some of the longest in the animal kingdom, but unlike other so-called giant spermatozoa, they are aflagellate, probably evolved only once, and represent an exceptionally old trait. Sperm length variations within cypridoidean species remain poorly known, a lack that hinders the development of hypotheses to explain their length and variation. For this study, the lengths of 500 spermatozoa from each of five species of freshwater cypridoidean ostracods, Candonopsis tenuis (Brady, 1886), Fabaeformiscandona subacuta (Yang, 1982), Heterocypris rotundata (Bronshtein, 1928), Ilyocypris japonica Okubo, 1990, and Notodromas trulla Smith and Kamiya, 2014, were measured, including the lengths of the posterior and anterior regions. No overall pattern in sperm variation was discernible. Length variations between species, between males of the same species, and within individual males varied from low (Candonopsis tenuis) to extraordinarily large (Notodromas trulla and Fabaeformiscandona subacuta). Sperm competition, cryptic female choice, sperm heteromorphism, and testis size are unlikely to explain all of the variations observed. Age structures of the populations sampled might play a role in explaining some intraspecific variation. The differing amounts of variation in sperm characters revealed in this study suggest that multiple evolutionary trends and pressures shape sperm lengths in this superfamily.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank the two anonymous reviewers who provided useful comments on the manuscript.

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Smith, R.J., Matzke-Karasz, R. & Kamiya, T. Sperm length variations in five species of cypridoidean non-marine ostracods (Crustacea). Cell Tissue Res 366, 483–497 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-016-2459-x

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Keywords

  • Giant spermatozoa
  • Ostracoda
  • Cypridoidea
  • Reproduction