Open Access

Ultrastructure and functional morphology of the female reproductive organs inProtodrilus (Polychaeta, Annelida)

  • Henning von Nordheim1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen45:BF02367179


The morphology and function of the female reproductive organs in 6Protodrilus species are investigated by light- and transmission electron microscopy. Possible ways in which spermatozoa may enter the female coelom after leaving the spermatophore are discussed for species with and without special female reception organs. Only femaleP. rubropharyngeus andP. flavocapitatus have “dorsal organs” for spermatophore reception. The structure and function of these organs are described, as well as those of the oviduct found in 3 of the species investigated. The possible phylogenetic origin of gonoducts and different modes of oviposition within the genus are discussed. Finally, the high taxonomic significance of female traits such as dorsal organs, oviducts, cocoon glands and lateral ciliary rows in this genus is stressed.