The spermatozoa of ascidians: acrosome and nuclear envelope. Academic Article uri icon


  • The spermatozoon of Ascidia callosa has a head with a wedge-shaped tip. Between the nuclear envelope and the plasmalemma, at the tip of the head, there are one or two previously undescribed vesicles, 45 to 55 nm in diameter. These vesicles have the characteristics of an acrosome. Their role in the process of fertilization has not been determined. Ultrastructural studies of sperm activation are needed, but claims that the spermatozoa of ascidians do not have an acrosome should be reconsidered. Behind the tip of the sperm there are pores in the nuclear envelope. This part of the envelope also contains a dense band of amorphous material that may have a supportive function. A nearly identical structure, associated with pores has been found in the spermatozoon of Boltenia villosa. An analysis of the nuclear envelope of Ascidia callosa indicates that the same structure has previously been misinterpreted as an acrosome in the spermatozoon of Ascidia nigra.

published proceedings

  • Cell Tissue Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Cloney, R. A., & Abbott, L. C.

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • Cloney, RA||Abbott, LC

publication date

  • March 1980