Morphological study of the male genital organs of Gracilinanus microtarsus
Keywords:Didelphimorphia, marsupials, reproduction, prostatic segments
Gracilinanus microtarsus is one of the smallest marsupials on earth. Since it spreads seeds, it has great ecological relevance. However, its reproduction data, especially those related to the anatomy of its reproduction apparatus, are scarce in the literature. Current analysis describes the male genital organs of six adult specimens of G. microtarsus. Macroscopic studies were undertaken on dissected organs, whereas histological studies were performed by inclusion technique in paraffin and by hematoxylin and eosin and Masson trichrome staining. The male genital organs of G. microtarsus consist of a penis with bifid glans, two testicles within a pendular scrotum, placed cranially to the penis, featuring a histology consisting of seminiferous tubules with spermatogonic cells, spermatozoa and Sertoli cells, and a peritubular region with Leydig cells. Testicles are closely associated with epididymis with head, body and tail, with histological differences between the different regions. Deferent ducts, spermatic funicles and annexed glands were reported. The latter were composed of prostate glands divided into three distinct segments and bulbourethral glands. Results show that the male reproduction system of G. Microtarsus is anatomically similar to that of Didelphis sp. and other marsupials groups, with slight details such as the site of each organ.
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