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Diversity of reproductive behaviour in platyhelminth parasites: insemination in some benedeniine (capsalid) monogeneans

  • G. C. Kearn (a1) and I. D. Whittington (a2)
Extract

Considerable diversity has been found in the reproductive behaviour of benedeniine (capsalid) monogenean parasites. Mating has been observed in Benedenia sp. 1 from the gills of Lutjanus carponatatus; externally attached spermatophores are not involved and parasites indulge in mutual cross-insemination with intromission. In contrast, there is evidence of spermatophore involvement in Benedenia sp. 2 from the fins of Lethrinus miniatus; mating was not observed but an individual was found carrying an external ovoid spermatophore attached by a stalk lodged in the vagina. In specimens of Benedeniella macrocolpa and B. posterocolpa, in which the male reproductive system was functional and the female system not fully developed, the everted cirrus was seen to be lodged in the parasite's own uterus, with, in some individuals, the tip of the cirrus inside the ootype. This is the first time that the copulatory organ has been observed inside the female reproductive tract of the same individual, not just in benedeniines but in monogeneans in general, and is also the first demonstration that monogeneans are capable of self-insemination via the uterine route.

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Parasitology
  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
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