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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 25, 2015

Sperm transfer in monogenean (platyhelminth) parasites

Graham Kearn and Ian Whittington
From the journal Acta Parasitologica

Abstract

There are three major groups of parasitic platyhelminths (flatworms). The digeneans and cestodes are endoparasites, while the monogeneans are ectoparasites mostly on the gills or skin of fishes. Monogeneans are hermaphrodite and, with the exception of the gyrodactylids, mostly protandrous, the male reproductive system maturing before the female system. Their ectoparasitic life-style provides unique opportunities to observe the reproductive biology of living platyhelminths, opportunities restricted in digeneans and cestodes by their endoparasitic habits. Moreover, the male copulatory organs (MCOs) of monogeneans are of special interest because of their perplexing diversity, ranging from sclerotised penis tubes, many with accessory sclerites, to cirruses and genital atrium armature (hooks and spines). The relatively few accounts in the literature of mating in monogeneans are reproduced in this review, together with consideration of the following aspects of sperm transfer: structure and function of MCOs; self-insemination; spermatophores and pseudospermatophores; “hypodermic” and transtegumental insemination; tissue fusion; glands associated with MCOs and vaginae; finding a mating partner.

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Received: 2015-3-25
Revised: 2015-3-27
Accepted: 2015-4-27
Published Online: 2015-9-25
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS