Male and female reproductive system of fasciola hepatica – Essay

Male and female reproductive system of fasciola hepatica

Fasciola is monoecious and hermaphrodite. Gonads are well developed and open into a common chamber, genital atrium. It opens outside through gonopore.

1. Male Reproductive System

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(a) Testes:

A pair of testes, tandemly arranged lie in the middle and posterior part of the body. Epithelium lining of testes gives rise to sperms.

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(b) Vasa deferentia and seminal vesicles:

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Testes lead into sperm duct or vasa deferens. The two vasa diferentia run side-by-side anteriorly upto the level of acetabulum. Here they unite to form a large seminal vesicle for storage of sperms.

(c) Cirrus sac:

Anteriorly from seminal vesicle, arises a narrow and somewhat twisted, tube, the ejaculatory duct, which extends forward and enters a stout muscular and reversible copulatory organ, the penis or cirrus. It opens into genital atrium through male genital pore.

Numerous unicellular prostate glands surround and open into the ejaculatory duct. Their alkaline secretion helps in free movement of sperms during copulation. Cirrus, prostate glands and seminal vesicle are enclosed in a cirrus pouch or cirrus sac.

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2. Female reproductive system

(a) Ovary:

A single highly branched and tubular ovary or germarium is situated anterior to the testes on right side of the body.

(b) Oviduct and Uterus:

Ovary leads into the short narrow tube, the oviduct; it extends towards the middle line of body and joins the median vitelline duct to form the ova-vitalline duct or uterus.

Uterus is a convoluted tube and extends upto the genital atrium, opens into it through female genital aperture.

It is filled with capsules containing fertilized eggs. A short muscular Laurer’s canal arises from oviduct and it serves as vagina during copulation.

(c) Vitelline glands:

All along the entire length of the body on left and right side, vitelline glands occur as a cluster of follicles.

Follicles on each side are connected by fine interconnected ductules to the longitudinal vitelline duct.

Both the ducts unite through a transverse duct a little behind the origin of uterus. In the centre of transverse duct yolk reservoir is formed and gives rise anteriorly to a median vitelline duct. It joins oviduct to form the uterus.

Vitelline glands produce special yolk cells that contain abundant yolk for nourishing the embryo. They also produce numerous large shell globules which form egg shells.

3. Mehlis’s glands:

They, also known as shell glands, are a cluster of unicellular glands surrounding the junction of oviduct, median vitelline duct and uterus. Their secretion helps in lubricating uterus for smooth passage of eggs and in activating sperms.