Sperm transport after insemination in the Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris, Caudata, Salamandridae)
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The goal of this study was to test if sperm transport to the spermathecae in the Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris) requires active co-operation of the female. Artificial insemination of anaesthetised female newts was conducted using spermatophores collected from courting males and with sperm duct contents collected from sacrificed males. Sperm was present in the spermathecae of 9 out of 10 females inseminated with the spermatophores but in only 1 out of 8 females inseminated with sperm duct contents. The females of both groups laid some eggs after insemination, and a portion of these eggs in group of females inseminated with spermatophores were fertilized. However, the number of eggs produced by the females was much lower than typical egg-production in newts. The presence of sperm in the spermathecae of females inseminated with spermatophores and lack of sperm in the spermathecae of females inseminated with sperm duct contents suggests that sperm transport is either induced by the substances present in spermatophores and/or that sperm from the sperm duct is not fully mobile in comparison with sperm from the spermatophores.
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Artur Osikowski, Department of Comparative Anatomy, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, R. Ingardena 6, 30-060 Krakow, Poland