Spermatogenesis in mature male scalloped hammerhead sharks

Published on
11. September 2020

A first observation of spermatogenesis in mature male scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) from Zinkwazi, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Coetzee, H.J., Naidoo, K. & Wagenaar, I.


Sharks are not only threatened, but also have a low fecundity as they are being overfished. The shark family, Sphyrnidae, consists of nine species of which three are found in South African oceans. One of the three Sphyrnidae species, the scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) are the most common, but their biology and mode of reproduction are not extensively studied in terms of their reproductive biology. The aim of this study was to describe the germ cell development in the testes of sexually mature male scalloped hammerheads. Three individual male S. lewini were caught at Zinkwazi, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The sharks and their reproductive organs were weighed and measured to collect the biometric data for the condition factor and the gonado-somatic index. Following standard necropsy, the testes were fixed in Bouin’s solution and processed for histological assessment. The histological assessment revealed that the testes of S. lewini consist of seminiferous tubules which form part of a larger lobular structure with germ cells in different stages of development, from spermatogonia to mature spermatozoa. Seven stages of development were identified during the process of spermatogenesis, similar to what has been described for elasmobranchs. In conclusion, this study provides evidence that the testes of S. lewini are diametrical and polyspermatocystic and conforms to the testes structure of elasmobranch males.

Fish Physiol Biochem (2020), DOI: 10.1007/s10695-020-00871-z


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