Sperm-storage tubules in the vagina of the ostrich (Struthio camelus)

12 Sep 2013

Sperm-storage tubules have been described in a number of species of birds. The presence of these tubules in the Rhea has been mentioned, but no description of these structures in ratites is available. The purpose of this study was to determine the presence and morphology of sperm-storage tubules in the vagina of the ostrich. The study was performed with the use of conventional light- and electron-microscopic techniques. Sperm-storage tubules were located in a 200-mm-wide band of the vagina adjacent to the utero-vaginal junction. The tubules were mostly branched and slightly coiled and lined by columnar epithelial cells. The cells contained a basal nucleus and displayed extensive apical junctional complexes. TEM revealed sperm in all the tubules examined.