Sperm-cell morphology and ultrastructure in the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) were examined using transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Metrics and structure were compared with similar metrics obtained from other published descriptions of sturgeon sperm cells. General morphology was found to be similar to that of sperm cells of the white (Acipenser transmontanus), lake (A. fulvescens), stellate (A. stellatus), Chinese (A. sinensis), Russian (A. gueldenstaedti colchicus), and shortnose (A. brevirostrum) sturgeons, which all shared a gradual tapering of the nuclear diameter from posterior to anterior, unlike that of the Atlantic sturgeon (A. oxyrhynchus). The sperm cell of the pallid sturgeon was similar in size to that of the Atlantic sturgeon, being only slightly larger. The sperm cell of the pallid sturgeon differed from those of other sturgeons chiefly in the acrosomal region, where the posterolateral projections (PLP) have the shape of an acute triangle and are arranged in a spiral about the longitudinal axis of the cell. The PLP were longer than those of other sturgeons, being twice the length of those of the Atlantic sturgeon and 58% longer than those of the lake sturgeon. Also, in cross section the acrosome had the shape of a hollow cone rather than the cap of an oak tree acorn, as was found in ultrastructural studies of other sturgeons. In addition, we were able to confirm that the structural arrangement of the distal centriole of the midpiece is identical with that of the proximal centriole: nine sets of microtubular triplets around the periphery of the centriole. This information is of potential use to fishery biologists, forensic biologists, zoologists, reproductive physiologists, taxonomists, evolutionary biologists, and aquaculturists.
Additional publication details
Sperm-cell ultrastructure of North American sturgeons. IV. The pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus Forbes and Richardson, 1905)