This paper investigates by scanning and transmission electron microscopy spermiogenesis and spermatozoon morphology of the gonochoristic eutardigrade Xerobiotus pseudohufelandi (Macrobiotidae). During spermiogenesis clusters of spermatids are connected by cytoplasmic bridges that persist up to an advanced stage of maturation. Spermiogenesis is characterized by distinctive modifications of the nucleus and by the differentiation of an acrosome, tail and substantial midpiece. Testicular spermatozoa are folded with the hinge located between the head and midpiece, thus resembling a nut-cracker. The head includes a rod-shaped, bilayered acrosome and an elongated, helicoidal nucleus with condensed chromatin. The large kidney-shaped midpiece has hemispherical swellings/ovoid elements surrounding the centriole and an incomplete mitochondrial sleeve. The flagellum contains a ´9 + 2´ axoneme and terminates in a tuft of microtubules. Spermathecal spermatozoa always have linear profiles. The acrosome and nucleus have the same morphological pattern as in testicular spermatozoa, whereas the midpiece is thin and lacks the hemispherical swellings, and the tail is reduced to a short stub. Functional considerations are presented, based upon this different morphology. Moreover, phyletic comparisons are made on the basis of sperm morphology, both for the family Macrobiotidae and the class Eutardigrada.
Ultrastructural study of spermiogenesis and the testicular and spermathecal spermatozoon of the gonochoristic tardigrade Xerobiotus pseudohufelandi (Eutardigrada, Macrobiotidae) / Rebecchi, Lorena. - In: JOURNAL OF MORPHOLOGY. - ISSN 0362-2525. - STAMPA. - 234:(1997), pp. 11-24.