Males also have their time of the month! Cyclic disposal of old spermatophores, timed by the molt cycle, in a marine shrimp Academic Article uri icon


  • That sexually mature females go through hormonally regulated reproductive cycles is a well- established phenomenon in sexually reproducing organisms. Males, on the other hand, are commonly regarded as being continuously ready to mate.Programmed sperm degradation9 on a periodic basis or an innate spermexpiry date9 have never been shown. This manuscript describes a newly discovered molt-dependent mechanism by which old sperm is periodically removed from the reproductive system of male Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp. Firstly, it is shown that the spermatophores of males held in captivity become progressively melanized, a process that eventually renders them impotent. Then, by using melanin specks as a color marker, it is demonstrated that this phenomenon can be delayed and even reversed as long as the males remain sexually active. Lastly and most importantly, it is …

publication date

  • January 1, 2006