Spermatophore implantation in Rossia moelleri Steenstrup, 1856 (Sepiolidae; Cephalopoda)

H. J. T. Hoving, S. Nauwelaerts, B. van Genne, E.J. Stamhuis, K. Zumholz

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The small sepiolid cephalopod Rossia moelleri Steenstrup, 1856 transfers sperm by implantation of spermatangia into female tissue. Although this is a common sperm transfer and storage strategy in cephalopods, the mechanism behind implantation of spermatangia is poorly understood. In the lab, we artificially induced the spermatophoric reaction and spermatangia implanted into female tissue. The force necessary to penetrate the mantle was measured using a needle attached to a force transducer. Taking diameter and bluntness factor into account, this force was estimated to be 0.3 N. Analysis of the spermatophoric reaction showed that the maximum force (1.12 mu N-9.36 mu N) produced as a result of acceleration (1.57-3.59 mm/s(2)) of the forward moving sperm mass (2.6-7 mg) was insufficient to be solely responsible for the penetration of the spermatangia into tissue. Scanning electron microscopy revealed no structures that could have facilitated the implantation of the spermatangium. Histological sections of the implanted spermatangium visualized the cement body being orally secreted from the spermatangium, probably facilitating the implantation either by lysis of the surrounding tissue or by acting as a lubricant during implantation. This study shows that the autonomous implantation process of spermatangia of R. moelleri does not have a purely mechanical basis but necessitates an additional, probably chemical mechanism or a combination of these two. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 30-Apr-2009


  • Cephalopoda
  • Mating
  • Mollusca
  • Reproduction
  • Rossia moelleri
  • Spermatangium
  • Spermatophore implantation
  • Spermatophoric reaction

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