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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Structure of Spermatheca and Sperm Dynamics in the Formosan Subterranean Termite Coptotermes formosanus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

Authors
item Raina, Ashok
item Murphy, Charles
item Florane, Christopher
item Williams, Kelley
item Park, Yong
item Ingber, Bruce

Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 11, 2007
Publication Date: July 11, 2007
Citation: Raina, A.K., Murphy, C.A., Florane, C.B., Williams, K.A., Park, Y.I., Ingber, B.F. 2007. Structure of Spermatheca and Sperm Dynamics in the Formosan Subterranean Termite Coptotermes formosanus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Annuals of the Entomological Society of America. 100:481-424.

Interpretive Summary: The Formosan subterranean termite is a major urban pest. Each year following swarming, very large numbers of new colonies are formed by adult pairs. High reproductive potential of these termites is an important factor contributing to production of large colonies. It is therefore important to understand the structure, and dynamics of sperm transfer and storage in the female. The tailless sperm are stored in the female in a specialized structure called spermatheca. Wall of the spermatheca has many glandular cells that may be producing nutrients for the long-term storage of sperm. The spermatheca contains very large number of bacteria, the exact function of which is not known at this time. The information obtained will be useful to researchers in developing novel strategies for the control of this pest.

Technical Abstract: Primary reproductives of the Formosan subterranean termite Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, complete their first reproductive cycle in about 60 days after nest formation. During this period the pairs mate several times. The spherical, aflagellate sperm, after transfer by the male, are stored in the female spermatheca. Sperm numbers in the spermatheca increase significantly between day 20 and 40 and thereafter show a steep decline indicating that the pairs may not be mating after day 40. The spermatheca is bean shaped with an extremely narrow duct. The thick wall of the spermatheca consists mainly of type 3 cells made up of secretory and duct cells. Cuticle-lined ducts are interspersed throughout these cells. Finger like extensions of the cuticle-lined interior wall project into the lumen of the spermatheca. The secretory cells presumably provide nutrition for the sperm during their long storage. Eleven anaerobic and six aerobic species of bacteria were cultured and identified from the spermatheca. The role of these bacteria is unknown at this time.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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