Ultrastructure of the spermatozoa of Psammotettix striatus (Linnaeus) and Exitianus nanus (Distant) (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadellidae: Deltocephalinae)

Mei Su, Christopher H. Dietrich, Yalin Zhang, Wu Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies of insect spermatozoa indicate that these specialized cells have undergone significant morphological evolution and exhibit traits useful for reconstructing phylogenetic relationships. Although leafhoppers (Cicadellidae) are among the largest and most economically important insect families, few comparative studies of their spermatozoa have been published. Here, the ultrastructure of mature spermatozoa of two leafhoppers Psammotettix striatus (Linnaeus) and Exitianus nanus (Distant), representing two different tribes of the largest leafhopper subfamily, Deltocephalinae, was examined by light and transmission electron microscopy. The shape and ultrastructure of spermatozoa of the two species are very similar to those of other Cicadellidae as well as other Auchenorrhyncha, comprising a conical acrosome invaginated to form a subacrosomal space, a filiform homogeneously condensed nucleus, a lamellate centriolar adjunct connecting the nucleus with the mid-piece/flagellum, a long flagellum with a 9+9+2 axoneme pattern and two symmetrical mitochondrial derivatives with an orderly array of peripheral cristae, and two drop-shaped accessory bodies. They may be distinguished by the size of the sperm, and the shape of the nucleus, accessory bodies, and paracrystalline region of mitochondrial derivatives. The fine morphology and ultrastructure of spermatozoon in P.striatus and E.nanus are illustrated, along with a brief discussion of the implications for classification and phylogenetic analyses of the subfamily.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-570
Number of pages12
JournalArthropod Structure and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Deltocephalinae
  • Leafhopper
  • Mitochondrial derivatives
  • Spermatozoon
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Insect Science


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