Sperm ultrastructure and spermatogenesis in the Japanese beetle Popillia japonica (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae).
Popillia japonica is an invasive scarab beetle native to Japan that in 1916 invaded New Jersey in USA. From that moment onwards, the insect has spread invading several US states, Canada, the Azores, Italy and, recently, Switzerland. It is a severe agricultural pest included in the EU priority pest list being able to feed on more than 300 plant species and having an important biotic potential. The general morphology of the reproductive apparatus shows paired testes, each of them having six testicular lobes grouped in threes. From the ventral part of each testicular lobe, each containing about 20 follicles, an efferent vessel originates that fuses with the other efferent vessels to form the deferent duct. A pair of long tubular accessory glands is present. The deferent ducts and accessory glands fuse together into an ejaculatory duct before entering the aedeagus. The sperm is a typical pterygote sperm, 110 μm long, composed of a head and a tail. In the head a three-layered acrosome of about 6 μm in length and a nucleus of about 18 μm long are present. During sperm maturation two C-shaped structures appear in the cytoplasm from the opposite sides of the nucleus that then disappear in late spermatids. In the tail a typical 9 + 9 + 2 flagellar axoneme and two mitochondrial derivatives are present. Moreover, in the head-tail transition region the centriolar adjunct forms a sheath from which three elongated accessory bodies originate. Two of these accessory bodies are placed alongside the axoneme, whilst the third one is placed beneath the mitochondrial derivatives. Mature sperm are grouped in cysts containing about 256 sperm cells. A morphological comparison with related species is provided.