Scanning Microscopy


The vas deferens of the salamander Rhyacotriton olmpicus is composed of (1) a peritoneal epithelium, (2) connective tissue wiith fibroblasts, melanophores, circular smooth muscle, capillaries, and unmyelinated nerves within a collagenous matrix, and (3) an inner layer of cuboidal epithelium partially covered by ciliated squamous cells at the lumen. The lumen and apical cytoplasm of both epithelial cell types contain strongly PAS-positive granules. The cuboidal cells contained numerous swollen rough endoplasmic reticulum cisternae, mitochondria, and apical dense granules suggesting a high degree of secretory activity possibly involved in sperm maintenance. Fewer mitochondria, rough endoplasmic reticula, and granules in squamous cells suggest less secretory activity. Squamous cells may protect the cuboidal cells from possible abrasion by sperm masses and/or their cilia may aid in distributing secretory products in the lumen.

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