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Ovarian maturation of the multi-spawning spider crab Maja brachydactyla (Decapoda: Majidae) with special reference to yolk formation
Rotllant, G.; González-Gurriarán, E.; Fernández, L.; Benhalima, K.; Ribes, E. (2007). Ovarian maturation of the multi-spawning spider crab Maja brachydactyla (Decapoda: Majidae) with special reference to yolk formation. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 152(2): 383-394.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Rotllant, G.
  • González-Gurriarán, E.
  • Fernández, L.
  • Benhalima, K.
  • Ribes, E.

    In the study of the reproductive biology of the spider crab Maja brachydactyla, the morphology of the female reproductive system and yolk formation have long been overlooked. Females spawn two or three times during their annual reproductive cycle in northern Spain (Galicia). The ovaries consist of two lobes. The right and left lobes are connected by a small cross-lobe at the level of the heart and merge at the posterior edge. Before merging, the ovaries descend to the ventral part of the body, joining the spermathecae in the vagina, which opens through a chitin tube to the gonopore, located in the sternite, at the level of the third walking leg. No morphological changes have been observed between either the different parts of the ovaries or the different annual spawning periods. At the start of vitellogenesis, the oocyte of M. brachydactyla is characterized by a large number of vesicles in the cytoplasm. These vesicles are surrounded by a unit membrane whose size increases as the oocyte matures and contain fine granular material including a variable number of ovoid, electron-dense granules. The vesicles are of diverse origin, although most of them develop directly from the mitochondria and the Golgi complex (endogenous phase of vitellogenesis). In a subsequent phase, a series of substances (principally lipoproteins) are incorporated into the ooplasma by means of micropinocytosis. These substances are also involved in yolk formation (exogenous phase of vitellogenesis). During vitellogenesis in M. brachydactyla, mitochondria play the most important role since they are not only the energetic centre of the cellule, but they also act as containers of high-energy reserve substances: the yolk granules.

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