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Research articles

ScienceAsia 50 (2024):ID 2024054 1-9 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2024.054

Male reproductive system and sperm ultrastructure of sesarmid crab Episesarma singaporense (Tweedie, 1936)

Chanyut Sudtongkonga, Supparat Kong-oha, Pornthep Wirachwonga, Sinlapachai Senaratb,*, Anan Kenthaoc, Woranop Sukparangsid, Piyamat Kongtuenge, Atsuo Iidaf, Sampan Tongnunuig

ABSTRACT:     The popularity of sesarmid crab Episesarma singaporense (Tweedie, 1936) in Thai and Southeast Asian cuisine has put the species under pressure. However, sesarmids are important for nutrient cycling within mangrove ecosystems, and losses of the species due to overfishing could have a wide impact. Although the crab reproductive system has been well reported, our study aimed to describe the male reproductive system of E. singaporense in detail, using light and electron microscopy. We elucidated histological characters of the male reproductive tract, including the anterior, median and posterior vas deferens, showing the presence of droplet secretion and spermatophores, an accessory gland with basophilic secretion, and testes composed of active spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis. Five main phases of spermatogenesis were identified: spermatogonia (Sg), primary spermatocytes (PSc), secondary spermatocytes (SSc), spermatids (Sp), and spermatozoa (Sz). The Sg, the PSc, and the SSc stages could be further divided into substages of two Sg, six meiotic PSc, and two meiotic SSc substages, respectively. Since spermatozoa of sesarmid crabs are aflagellate, the substages of spermatid-spermatozoa cell differentiation could not be visualized by light microscope. Therefore, electron microscope was used to provide more detail of the successive changes in nuclear architecture, acrosome patterns, and perforatorium. It was also firstly noted that the anterior vas deferens (AVD) of E. singaporense comprised two parts: the proximal portion (AVDp) and the distal portion (AVDd). The study results increased our understanding of the effects of different seasonally changed nutrients on the reproductive development of E. singaporense.

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a Department of Marine Science and Environment, Faculty of Science and Fisheries Technology, Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya, Trang 92150 Thailand
b Department of Biological Science, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla 90110 Thailand
c Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok 65000 Thailand
d Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Burapha University, Chon Buri 20131 Thailand
e Research Center for Veterinary Biosciences and Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50100 Thailand
f Department of Animal Sciences, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8602 Japan
g Division of Conservation Biology, Mahidol University, Kanchanaburi 71150 Thailand

* Corresponding author, E-mail:

Received 22 Aug 2023, Accepted 23 Apr 2024