In the course of a light and electron microscopy study of spermatogenesis in the European crayfish, Astacus fluviatilis, spermatocytes of abnormal appearance were observed in two instances in individuals that had passed the mating period. The electron microscope showed that the inner membrane of the nuclear envelope of these cells was erupting into a mass of microtubules, 15 to 18 mµ in diameter and 0.5 µ or more in length, while the outer membrane transformed into cytoplasmic vesicles. Stages in the formation of these novel processes were followed. The plasma membrane of the affected cells was seen in some cases to erupt into similar although shorter microtubules. It is concluded that the phenomenon is part of a degenerative process in which the spermatocytes are being absorbed by sustentacular cells. It is suggested that the observations provide further evidence for a fundamental functional as well as a morphological similarity between the membranes bounding the nucleus and the plasma membrane.

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