Sperm ultrastructure of the Actinocyclidae (Mollusca, Nudibranchia) and homology of the terminal region of nudibranch sperm
Sperm ultrastructure is examined and described for the actinocyclidid nudibranchs Actinocyclus verrucosus, Hallaxa iju and Hallaxa indecora. Although general characteristics were consistent with previously described heterobranch observations, present investigations revealed ultrastructural synapomorphies for the family based on the morphology of the terminal region of the spermatozoon. In actinocyclidids, the axonemal microtubules penetrate for some distance beyond the annulus, and the annular accessory body elongates to completely seal the terminal region. Chromodoris also has an annular accessory body that completely seals the axoneme and terminal region, but it does not extend far beyond the annulus, and it is possible that these states were derived independently. Cytochemical staining confirmed that there was no glycogen present in the posterior region of the sperm for H. indecora or Chromodoris kuniei. However, representatives of other chromodoridid genera (Noumea, Risbecia) have an axoneme that penetrates through the entire annular complex, after which it is sheathed by a glycogen deposit. Similarities in the acrosomal complex support the proposed sister group relationship between the Actinocyclidae and Chromodorididae.