|SREL Reprint #2046|
ANNUAL CYCLE OF SPERM STORAGE IN
SPERMATHECAE OF THE RED-SPOTTED
NEWT NOTOPHTHALMUS VIRIDESCENS
Female sperm storage was studied in a population of Notophthalmus viridescens from South Carolina. Spermathecae initiate production of a glycoprotein secretary product in October. At this time ovarian follicles are immature (0.5-0.9 mm dia), and mating does not occur despite spermiation in males. Six of the 10 females collected in December had sperm in their spermathecae, indicating onset of mating. Unmated females collected in October and sacrificed in February and March possessed mature ovarian follicles (1.3-1.4 mm dia), and the spermathecae contained large secretary vacuoles 2-3 Jim dia. Release of secretary product is concomitant with the appearance of sperm in the spermathecae. Thus mated females lack secretary vacuoles in the spermathecal epithelium, and additional synthesis of secretary product does not occur. All females collected in February and March have mated. Sperm are embedded in the spermathecal epithelium and are undergoing degradation in February. Degradation of sperm in the lumen and epithelium is evident in specimens examined from May and June. Atresia of ovarian follicles begins in April in captive specimens, and specimens captured from the bay in May are spent. A general postbreeding emigration from the pond occurs in summer. Fourteen females collected 7 March were injected with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) on 9 March and laid fertile eggs 10-18 March. Two of these females were sacrificed each month from April-September; all retained some sperm in their spermathecae, but further oviposition did not occur. Four females were kept 1 year after oviposition of fertile eggs, and oviposition again was induced with hCG; these eggs were infertile, and spermathecae lacked sperm. Spermathecae are inactive from June-September in captive and wild-caught specimens. Sperm may be stored effectively up to 6 months (December-May), and no evidence was found for retention of viable sperm from one breeding season to the next.
Sever, D.M., L.C. Rania, and J.D. Krenz. 1996. The annual cycle of sperm storage in the spermathecae of the red-spotted newt, Notophthalmus viridescens (Amphibia: Salamandridae). Journal of Morphology 227:155-170.