Scanning Microscopy


Typical for non-passerine birds, the spermatozoa of the turkey, chicken and guinea fowl were vermiform with a maximum width of 0.5-0. 7μm and lengths of 90μm for chicken sperm, and 75-80μm for those of the turkey and guinea. An acrosome, nucleus, midpiece and flagellum could be distinguished by SEM.

The acrosomal cap projected over a perforatorium surrounded by granular material. At its base, the cap encircled apical projections of the nucleus. The nucleus consisted of dense chromatin, and formed a concave implantation fossa where it joined the midpiece of the tail. For turkey and chicken spermatozoa, the neck region of the midpiece consisted of a proximal centriole and its pericentriolar processes oriented perpendicularly to an elongated distal centriole, but guinea sperm contained only a single elongated centriole and associated pericentriolar projections. The centrioles plus their projections to the implantation fossa constituted the non-striated connecting piece. The distal centriole served as the precursor of the flagellum and was longest for turkey sperm.

Enveloping the distal centriole and extending to the annulus were 25-30 helically arranged mitochondria. Flagellum ultrastructure consisted of the typical 9 + 2 microtubular axonemal complex but outer dense fibers were absent. A hypertonic diluent immobilized the sperm, condensing the flagellar matrix and obliterating the radial links. Variations in ultrastructure of the above structures between sperm of the three species is discussed and compared with sperm ultrastructure from other non-passerine birds.

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