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The anatomy and functional morphology of the large hermaphroditic duct of three species of Aplysia, with special reference to the atrial gland.

Research paper by S D SD Painter, V K VK Kalman, G T GT Nagle, R A RA Zuckerman, J E JE Blankenship

Indexed on: 01 Nov '85Published on: 01 Nov '85Published in: Journal of Morphology



Abstract

The anatomy and functional morphology of the large hermaphroditic duct of three species of gastropod mollusc (Aplysia californica, A. dactylomela, and A. brasiliana) were examined. Each duct is composed of two parallel compartments, the red hemiduct (RHD) and the white hemiduct (WHD), which are distinguishable from the outside of the duct. Four secretory regions, all exocrine in morphology, are recognizable: the RHD secretory epithelium, the atrial gland (or atrial gland-like epithelium), the WHD secretory epithelium, and the accessory gland of the copulatory duct (AGCD). Of these regions, only the atrial gland (or atrial gland-like epithelium) contains egglaying activity and only the atrial gland (or atrial gland-like epithelium) is immunocytochemically labeled by serum antibodies generated against low molecular weight A. californica atrial gland peptides. The RHD is the functional oviduct: the egg cordon passes through a channel lined by the RHD secretory epithelium and bordered by the atrial gland (or atrial gland-like epithelium); the eggs are separated from both the WHD secretory epithelium and the AGCD by internal folds of the duct. The WHD is the functional copulatory duct: the penis, exogenous sperm, and endogenous sperm pass directly by the AGCD and in close proximity to the WHD secretory epithelium; they are separated from both the RHD secretory epithelium and the atrial gland (or atrial gland-like epithelium) by internal folds. The atrial gland (or atrial gland-like epithelium) is thus not likely to have a prostatic function or to be directly stimulated by the penis during copulation; it may play a role in oviductal function.