Silhouettella loricatula (Arachnida, Araneae, Oonopidae): a Haplogyne spider with complex female genitalia

Burger, Matthias; Graber, Werner; Michalik, Peter; Kropf, Christian (2006). Silhouettella loricatula (Arachnida, Araneae, Oonopidae): a Haplogyne spider with complex female genitalia. Journal of morphology, 267(6), pp. 663-77. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology 10.1002/jmor.10435

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The female genital system of the oonopid Silhouettella loricatula is astonishingly complex. The genital opening is situated medially and leads into an oval receptaculum that is heavily sclerotized except for the ventral half of the posterior wall that appears chitinized only. A large striking sclerite lying in the posterior wall of the uterus externus is attached anteriorly to the receptaculum and continues dorsally into a globular appendix that bears a furrow. The uterus externus shows a peculiar modification in its anterior wall: a paddle-like sclerite with a nail-like posterior process. This sclerite lies opposite to the furrow proceeding in the globular appendix and may serve females to lock the uterus externus by muscle contractions. Massive muscles connect the sclerite with the anterior scutum of the opisthosoma and with two other sclerites that are attached to the receptaculum and serve as attachments for further muscles. Gland cells extend around a pore field of the receptaculum. They produce secretion that encloses spermatozoa in a discrete package (secretory sac) inside the receptaculum. In this way, the mixing of sperm from different males and thus sperm competition may be severely limited or completely prevented. During a copulation in the laboratory the ejection of a secretory sac that most probably contained spermatozoa was observed, indicating sperm dumping in S. loricatula. The ejection of the secretory sac may be caused by female muscle contractions or by male pedipalp movements. The majority of the investigated females have microorganisms in the receptacula that could represent symbionts or infectious agents. The microorganisms can be identified partly as bacteria. They are enclosed in secretion and are always found in the same position inside the receptaculum.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Graber, Werner Adrian






Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:49

Last Modified:

17 Mar 2015 21:49

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URI: (FactScience: 3654)

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