This paper reports an electron microscope study of typical and atypical spermatogenesis in the pond snail, Cipangopaludina malteata.
In the typical spermatid the nucleus undergoes profound changes as development proceeds, affecting both its form and internal fine structure. A large number of roughly parallel, dense filaments, arranged along the long axis of the nucleus, fuse with each other to form in the end the homogeneous helical body characteristic of the head of the adult spermatozoa. The nebenkern is apparently mitochondrial in nature and, in its early development, is similar to that of insects except that it appears as a double structure from the beginning. As differentiation proceeds, the mitochondria lose their membranes, and the residual, now denuded cristae, reorganize to give a parallel radial arrangement. In the last stages of development, the nebenkern derivations become applied to the sheath of the middle piece in a compact helical fashion.
In the development of the atypical spermatozoa, the nucleus fails to differentiate and simply shrinks in volume until only a remnant, devoid of DNA, is left. The cytoplasm shows numerous vesicles containing small Feulgen-positive bodies, 80 to 130 mµ in diameter. These vesicles plus contents increase in number as spermatogenesis proceeds. The "head" structure of the atypical spermatozoa consists of a bundle (7 to 17) of tail flagella, each with a centriole at its anterior end. The end-piece of the atypical form appears brush-like and is made up of the free ends of the several flagella.