Zoological Studies

Vol. 49 No. 3, 2010

Spermatophore and Gonopore Morphology of the Southwestern-Atlantic Hermit Crab Pagurus exilis (Benedict, 1892) (Anomura, Paguridae)

Marcelo A. Scelzo1, Marina Z. Fantucci2, and Fernando L. Mantelatto2,*

1Departamento de Ciencias Marinas, FCEyN, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata/CONICET.  Funes 3350, (AYL7600B), Mar del Plata, Argentina.  E-mail:mascelzo@gmail.com
2Laboratory of Bioecology and Crustacean Systematics, Department of Biology, Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP), University of São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP CEP 14040-901, Brazil E-mail marinazf@gmail.com

Marcelo A. Scelzo, Marina Z. Fantucci, and Fernando L. Mantelatto 2010) The form and function of the spermatophore have been used as a complementary tool in studies of the reproductive biology and systematics of hermit crabs.  In this context, we describe the spermatophore and gonopore morphology of Pagurus exilis.  The spermatophores were extracted from the distal part of the vas deferens of specimens collected in Argentina and Brazil.  The spermatophores were composed of 3 major regions: a main ampulla (with a sperm capsule inside and an accessory ampulla at the base), a stalk, and a pedestal.  Each spermatophore had a distinct dorsolateral suture line around the ampulla, where the rupture occurs to release the sperm.  The spermatophore total length was 1.5 times the main ampulla length.  The main ampulla was oval and slightly flattened.  A triangular accessory ampulla extended from the main ampulla base to the pedestal on 1 side, and contained no to several sperm.  The stalk is short and flattened, and as wide as the main ampulla.  One to 3 spermatophores were found attached to each pedestal, which was almost oblong in shape.  The dimensions of the spermatophore and its component parts were directly influenced by the size of the hermit crab.  Gonopores of males were covered by long pappose setae, while female gonopores bore a few short cuspidate setae.  Specimens from Brazil and Argentina had the same spermatophore morphology, corroborating the previously observed absence of genetic differences between the both populations.  The spermatophore morphology of this species has similarities with the broad general pattern of the Paguridae, being most similar to one of the (at least) 3 patterns of spermatophore morphology described for Pagurus.

Key words: Decapoda, Reproductive morphology, Testes.

*Correspondence: E-mail:flmantel@usp.br