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Abstract

Pteriomorphian spermatozoa, like those of most other bivalves, are of the classic aquasperm type (conical acrosomal vesicle, short to rod-shaped nucleus, short midpiece composed of two centrioles and a ring of spherical mitochondria, a simple flagellum). Whereas most other bivalve subclasses show at least some defining acrosomal feature(s), this does not appear to be the case within the Pteriomorphia. While this could indicate non-monophyletic status, it also correlates with the fact that the Pteriomorphia are a very old and very successful group of bivalves. Acrosomal similarities suggest a close link between the Ostreoidea and Limoidea (acrosomal vesicle with wedge-shaped apical zone; radiating plates present but not well developed); and between the Pterioidea, Pinnoidea and Pectinoidea (dense anterior layer; very well developed radiating plates). For supposedly closely related taxa, the Arcoidea and Limopsoidea (both Arcoida) differ markedly from each other in acrosomal shape and substructure. The affinities of the Anomioidea and even more so the Mytiloida remain uncertain, the latter possibly connected with the Pterioida or, more likely, removed from the rest of the Pteriomorphia (mytiloid acrosomes show concentric lamellae). A very close relationship between the Pectinidae and Spondylidae of the Pectinoidea is demonstrated (dense anterior layer of acrosome recurved). Within the Mytilidae (Mytiloidea) there is substantial variation in sperm morphology between supraspecific taxa especially at the subfamial level.

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