Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny 75(2): 245-260, doi: 10.3897/asp.75.e31901
The morphology of the male and female reproductive system in two species of spider crabs (Decapoda: Brachyura: Majoidea) and the issue of the velum in majoid reproduction
expand article infoKatja Kienbaum, Gerhard Scholtz, Carola Becker
‡ Humboldt - Universitaet zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Open Access
The reproductive system of spider crabs (Majoidea) has raised considerable interest due to the complexity of female sperm storage organs. In several majoid species, the seminal receptacle has been described as being divided into a dorsal storage chamber and a ventral fertilization chamber separated by a muscular velum. The velum is supposed to control the amount of sperm used for fertilization and to play an important role in sperm competition. Here, we present a study on the reproductive systems of the two majoid species, Mithraculus sculptus (Lamarck, 1818) and Stenorhynchus seticornis (Herbst, 1788) using various morphological techniques such as μCT scans and 3D-reconstructions, complemented by paraffin histology. The male gonopods of the herein investigated species are similar in their general morphology and in the presence and distribution of setae. The tubular first gonopod holding the ejaculatory canal is much longer than the short and stout second gonopod, which is supposed to function as a piston in the transport of sperm into the female ducts. The female reproductive system of M. sculptus and S. seticornis conforms to that of other Eubrachyura in possessing paired ovaries, oviducts, seminal receptacles, vaginae, and vulvae. Based on our 3D-reconstructions we demonstrate that there is no division of the seminal receptacle into two chambers separated by a velum. In contrast to this, we observed a spatially restricted invagination of the seminal receptacle. A comparison of our data with those of previous studies, allows for the conclusion that the invagination of the seminal receptacle may have been misinterpreted and mistaken for a velum by other authors. Thus, the division of the seminal receptacle into two chambers separated by a velum is a character which needs to be re-evaluated.
Seminal receptacle, storage chamber, insemination chamber, gonopods, setae, 3D-reconstruction.