Reproductive Anatomy

  • Mamoru Watanabe
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


The reproductive systems of males and females are generally constant in form within butterfly species. Males provide sperm as well as accessory gland substances for transferring to females. During copulation, a single spermatophore including sperm is structured in the bursa copulatrix of females. The bursa copulatrix can contain a full-size spermatophore or remnants of several spermatophores. The sperm to be used for fertilisation is stored in the spermatheca of females, not in the spermatophore. The female oviposition system is essentially a paired structure with two ovaries. Fertilisation takes place in the common oviduct as the sperm pass along this duct and enter the egg. Sperm dimorphism occurs in butterflies. An eupyrene spermatozoon, the normal sperm that can fertilise an egg, is transferred to the female as bundles in the spermatophore. A bundle consists of 256 eupyrene spermatozoa. The apyrene spermatozoon, however, has no nucleus and does not have fertilisation ability. After copulation, both types of spermatozoa move out of the bursa copulatrix, and then arrive at the spermatheca to be stored until oviposition. The spermatheca does not enlarge relative to the stored spermatozoa, suggesting the number of spermatozoa stored is limited. Therefore, the success of sperm migration from the spermatophore to the spermatheca is primarily critical for the reproductive success of the males.


Bursa copulatrix Lagena Oviposition Signa Somatic maintenance Spermatheca Spermathecal gland Spermatophore Testes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mamoru Watanabe
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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