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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Ultrastructure of the spermatozoa ofCorystes cassivelaunus (Corystidae),Platepistoma nanum (Cancridae) andCancer pagurus (Cancridae) supports recognition of the Corystoidea (Crustacea, Brachyura, Heterotremata)

  • B. G. M. Jamieson1,
  • D. Guinot2,
  • C. C. Tudge1 and
  • B. Richer de Forges3
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen51:BF02908756


A combination of characters, not individually unique, possessed by the corystid,Corystes cassivelaunus, and the two cancrids,Platepistoma nanum andCancer pagurus, defines a corystoid-type of spermatozoon: the basally bulbous, anteriorly narrowing perforatorium, the extent of this almost to the plasma membrane through a widely perforate operculum, and the simple inner acrosome zone, lacking an acrosome ray zone. The sperm of the two cancrids are closely similar, that of the corystid differing, for instance, in the less pointed, and less tapered, form of the perforatorium. This relative uniformity of spermatozoal ultrastructure in the cancrid+corystid assemblage so far investigated supports inclusion of the two families in the superfamily Corystoidea by Guinot (1978). The combination of perforation of the operculum and absence of an acrosome ray zone (at least in a clearly recognizable form) are features of the Potamidae which possibly indicate that the latter family, modified for a freshwater existence, is related to the cancrid+corystid assemblage. Some elongation of the centrioles, apparent at least inCorystes, may be a further link with potamids in which they are greatly elongated. The coenospermial spermatophores of cancridoids are a notable difference from the cleistospermia of potamids; but the latter is probably an apomorphic modification for fertilization biology.


PerforationAcrosome ReactionThickened RingAcrosomal MembraneRecognizable Form