Comparative sperm ultrastructure in five genera of the nudibranch family Chromodorididae (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia)
Sperm ultrastructure is examined in representatives of five genera of the nudibranch gastropod family Chromodorididae: (Chromodoris, Hypselodoris, Glossodoris, Risbecia and Pectenodoris) and the results compared with previous work on other gastropods, especially other nudibranchs. As chromodorid phylogeny is still incompletely understood, this study partly focuses on the search for new and as yet untapped sources of informative characters. Like spermatozoa of most other heterobranch gastropods, those of the Chromodorididae are elongate, complex cells composed of an acrosomal complex (small, rounded acrosomal vesicle, and columnar acrosomal pedestal), a condensed nucleus, subnuclear ring, a highly modified mid-piece (axoneme + coarse fibres surrounded by a glycogen-containing, helically-coiled mitochondrial derivative) and terminally a glycogen piece (or homologue thereof). The finely striated acrosomal pedestal is a synapomorphy of all genera examined here, but interestingly also occurs in at least one dorid (Rostanga arbutus). Substantial and potentially taxonomically informative differences were also observed between genera in the morphology of the nucleus, the neck region of the mid-piece, and also the terminal glycogen piece. The subnuclear ring is shown for the first time to be segemented, rather than a continuous structure; similarly, the annular complex is shown to consist of two structures, the annulus proper and the herein-termed annular acessory body.