Ultrastructure and function of long and short sperm in Cicadidae (Hemiptera)

M. Kubo-Irie, M. Irie*, T. Nakazawa, H. Mohri

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    The cicada, Graptopsaltria nigrofuscata, produces two distinct sizes of sperm, as determined by either nuclear volume of early spermatids or nuclear length of mature sperm. Between both sperm, there is no difference in location of the acrosome and flagellum during spermiogenesis. The acrosome is covered by an anteacrosomal bleb, which is inserted in a common mass, spermatodesm, derived from cyst cells. Both kinds of sperm linked to the spermatodesm form sperm bundles, respectively. During copulation, the sperm bundles are transported from the vesicula seminalis of the male to the bursa copulatrix of the female. Morphometric analyses of the nuclear length revealed that the two kinds of sperm reach the bursa copulatrix in the same condition as that found in the vesicula seminalis. Once transferred inside the latter, the sperm bundles disintegrated to individual sperm within a few hours, and the tail components, such as the axoneme and mitochondrial derivatives, become separated from each other over time. The tail completely splits from the sperm nucleus 24 h after copulation. Fertile sperm accumulate in the spermatheca, the final storage organ, where only long sperm survived for any length of time. Fertilized eggs examined by vital staining contain only sperm with long nuclei.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)983-991
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2003 Nov


    • Cicada
    • Fertilization
    • Long and short sperm
    • Sperm transfer

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Insect Science
    • Physiology


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