In the present study, we have investigated the ultrastructures of the mature gonadal spermatozoa of R. variegata and T. literatus and presented comparisons with the Manila clam, R. philippinarum, sperm ultrastructure examined. Spermatozoa of R. variegata consist of (in anterior to posterior sequence): an elongate conical, deeply invaginated, acrosomal vesicle (length 1.58 ± 0.06 μm; width 0.99 ± 0.07 μm; invagination occupied by a granular subacrosomal material); a barrel-shaped nucleus (length 1.82 ± 0.06 μm; width 1.50 ± 0.03 μm); a midpiece consisting of two orthogonally arranged centrioles, surrounded by four spherical mitochondria; nine satellite fibers connecting the distal centriole to the plasma membrane; and a flagellum originating from the distal centriole. Contents of the acrosomal vesicle of R. variegata are differentiated into a very electron-dense basal ring and a less electron-dense zone (with seven dense transverse layers structure) on the anterior region of the acrosome. Spermatozoa of T. literatus differ from those of R. variegata and are characterized by a rounded-conical invaginated, acrosomal vesicle (length 0.88 ± 0.08 μm; width 0.77 ± 0.06 μm), with a basal ring; and an anteriorly-tapered, barrel-shaped nucleus (length 1.57 ± 0.04 μm; width 1.60 ± 0.09 μm); a midpiece composed of four mitochondria. Centriolar and flagellar details are essential as for R. variegata. Sperm morphology separating R. variegate, R. philippinarum, and T. literatus in different clades. The anterior region of the acrosomal vesicle in R. variegata sperm had the transverse bands structure whereas the apex of the acrosomal vesicle of T. literatus sperm had no such structure. This difference advocated that acrosomal feature could be an important character for taxonomic distinction. Our data supported the previous studies that the ultrastructure of bivalve sperm is species-specific. This advocates that the phyletic relationships of Tapetinae, commonly based on shell morphology, should also add additional and newer approaches.
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