Indexed on: 17 Mar '17Published on: 17 Mar '17Published in: PloS one
Among all bat species, Desmodus rotundus stands out as one of the most intriguing due to its exclusively haematophagous feeding habits. However, little is known about their spermatogenic cycle. This study aimed at describing the spermatogenic process of common vampire bats through testicular histomorphometric characterization of adult specimens, spermatogenic production indexes, description of stages of the seminiferous epithelium cycle and estimative of the spermatogenic process duration. Morphometrical and immunohistochemical analyzes for bromodeoxiuridine were conducted under light microscopy and ultrastructural analyzes were performed under transmission electron microscopy. Vampire bats showed higher investment in gonadal tissue (gonadosomatic index of 0.54%) and in seminiferous tubules (tubulesomatic index of 0.49%) when compared to larger mammals. They also showed a high tubular length per gram of testis (34.70 m). Approximately half of the intertubular compartment was found to be comprised by Leydig cells (51.20%), and an average of 23.77x106 of these cells was found per gram of testis. The germline cells showed 16.93% of mitotic index and 2.51% of meiotic index. The overall yield of spermatogenesis was 60% and the testicular spermatic reserve was 71.44x107 spermatozoa per gram of testis. With a total spermatogenesis duration estimated at 37.02 days, vampire bats showed a daily sperm production of 86.80x106 gametes per gram of testis. These findings demonstrate a high sperm production, which is commonly observed in species with promiscuous mating system.