Glandular Aspects of Sexual Biology



The sexual biology of spiders is dominated by the anatomical constraints on the male to transfer its sperm, and by an obligatory courtship to bring about mutual arousal and reduced aggressivity before mating can occur. There is total separation between the male’s genital tract, located in the opisthosoma, and the copulatory bulb carried by the pedipalp, a prosomal appendage. As a result, the male must achieve a highly unusual “sperm transmission” (Gerhardt and Kaestner 1937) that includes a full series of opera­tions. The sperm cells produced in the testes and conditioned in the vasa deferentia must firstly be discharged from the gonopore onto a sperm web (primary ejaculation) and then sucked up (sperm induction) into the receptaculum seminis or spermophore. This tubular organ, coiled inside the copulatory bulb, is formed by a cuticular wall and an epithelium that appears as an integumentary invagination. The spermatozoa stored in the receptaculum are finally injected (secondary ejaculation) into the female genitalia during copulation.


Sperm Cell Silk Gland Male Spider Receptaculum Seminis Acinous Gland 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Souterrain du C.N.R.S. MoulisSaint-GironsFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Pathologie ComparéeE.P.H.E., Université du LanguedocMontpellierFrance

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