Letter | Published:

Taxonomic Significance of Spermathecal Structure in Some Species of Tribollum

Naturevolume 187page1138 (1960) | Download Citation



RECENT examination of spermathecæ in tenebrionid beetles associated with stored products has revealed that there are two distinct types of structure which are termed here the ‘tenebrio’ type and the ‘chamber’ type. Their basic plan and relationship to the rest of the female reproductive system are similar ; but there are certain differences which, in regard to the genus Tribolium, are considered to be of some phylogenetic significance. In both types, a duct of varying width and length, which terminates in the main sperm storage region, arises from the common oviduct. In Tenebrio molitor this duct is short and wide and ends in a group of convoluted, thin-walled tubes bound together by a tough membrane. Arising from their common base is a single, longer structure which may be glandular, having large-celled walls and a restricted lumen. Dissection of fertilized females has shown that the convoluted tubes carry sperm. In the chamber type, found in Gnathocerus, Alphitobius, Alphitophagus and some Tribolium species, there is a similar duct which runs to a strongly chitinized chamber in which motile spermatozoa are easily detected. This is variously shaped and arising either from the end opposite the duct entrance or from the side is a more-or-less elongate glandular region. In Palorus species this basic pattern is modified, associated with a muscular bursa.

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  1. 1

    Hinton, H. E., Bull. Ent. Res., 39, 13 (1948).

  2. 2

    Leclercq, J., Bull. Mus. Hist. Anat. Belge, 24, 1 (1948).

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  1. Pest Infestation Laboratory, London Road, Slough, Bucks



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