Reproductive system and spermatozoa ultrastructure support the phylogenetic proximity of Megadasys and Crasiella (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida)
The reproductive system and the spermatozoon of Megadasys sterreri from Lanzarote (Canary Islands, Spain) were studied at structural and ultrastructural levels. The species is a simultaneous hermaphrodite with cross-fertilization and shows paired gonads, the male anterior and the female posterior, and both gametes mature in a caudo-cephalic direction. Sperm ducts converge on the midline and open into a ventral common pore. Two sexual accessory organs are present in the caudal trunk. A pipe-like frontal organ lies between the ovaries and the caudal organ, and is composed of a long, thin region connected to a large zone containing mature and degenerating spermatozoa. The cigar-like caudal organ is elongate, bulky and is made of an anterior glandulo-muscular region and a posterior muscular one. Spermatozoa are long, filiform cells formed by an acrosome, a nucleus-mitochondrial complex, and a flagellum. The long acrosome is composed of an apical twisted region and a basal straight region. The nucleo-mitochondrial complex is formed by a spring-shaped nucleus surrounding basally the mitochondrion and apically a granular material. The flagellum has a 9x2+2 axoneme, characterized by a dense and prominent central sheath surrounding the central tubules. Megadasys sterreri (Cephalodasyidae) shows the same reproductive layout as Crasiella (Planodasyidae): paired gonads, caudo-cephalic maturation of gametes, sperm ducts converging into a common ventral pore, and two sexual accessory organs. Also the spermatozoa ultrastructure shows two similarities in the two genera: a peculiar prominent central sheath in the axoneme and a similar structure of the basal region of the acrosome. Considering the likely polyphyletic nature of the family Cephalodasyidae, and the sister-taxon relationship of Megadasys and Crasiella that emerged from a recent molecular phylogenetic study, a close relationship between the two taxa appears to be very likely; consequently, we propose to remove Megadasys from the family Cephalodasyidae and affiliate it to the family Planodasyidae.
|Keywords||Cephalodasyidae, phylogeny, Planodasyidae, reproductive traits, spermatogenesis|
|Journal||Contributions to Zoology|
|Rights||Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution") License|
Guidi, L, Todaro, M.A, Ferraguti, M, & Balsamo, M. (2014). Reproductive system and spermatozoa ultrastructure support the phylogenetic proximity of Megadasys and Crasiella (Gastrotricha, Macrodasyida). Contributions to Zoology, 83(2), 119–131.