Spermalege - Structure

Structure

The spermalege has two embryologically distinct parts, known as the ectospermalege and mesospermalege.

The ectospermalege is derived from the ectoderm. It consists of a groove in the right-handed posterior margin of the fifth sclerite, overlying a pleural membrane. In order to access the female's haemocoel during traumatic insemination, male bed bugs insert their needle-like penis into the groove, and pierce the pleural membrane. This piercing produces wounds that leave melanised scars.

The mesospermalege is derived from the mesoderm. It is a membrane-bound sac attached to the wall of the haemocoel, directly beneath the groove of the ectospermalege. In all bed bug species except Primicimex cavernis, sperm are injected into the mesospermalege. The structure contains two main types of hemocyte, though their function is not yet fully understood. The first of these is phagocytic and may absorb seminal fluid, whereas the other may digest spermatozoa.

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