Mating of the leaf insect Phyllium siccifolium; the white ball near the bottom of the picture is a spermatophore.

A spermatophore or sperm ampulla is a capsule or mass created by males of various animal species, containing spermatozoa and transferred in entirety to the female's ovipore during copulation. It may contain nourishment for the female, in which case it is called a nuptial gift, although in many species the "gift" provides little nutrient value (one group in which it usually is nutritious are the bush crickets).[1][2] The alternative hypothesis of its usefulness is that the process of eating the spermatophore prevents the female from subsequent copulation, thereby giving the male's sperm more time to fertilize.


Spermatophores are the norm in arachnids. In various insects, such as bush crickets, the spermatophore is often surrounded by a proteonaceous spermatophylax. The function of the spermatophylax is to cause the female to relinquish some of her control over the insemination process allowing full sperm transfer from the spermatophore.[3]


Some vertebrates also reproduce via spermatophores. Males of many salamander and newt species create spermatophores, which the females may choose to take up or not, depending on the success of the male's mating display.


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  • spermatophore — ● spermatophore nom masculin Dans quelques groupes animaux (araignée, collemboles, tritons), organe clos et détachable du mâle, contenant les spermatozoïdes. spermatophore [spɛʀmatɔfɔʀ] n. m. ÉTYM. 1878, P. Larousse, Premier Suppl.; de spermato …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Spermatophore — Sper ma*to*phore, n. [Spermato + Gr. fe rein to bear.] 1. (Physiol.) Same as {Spermospore}. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zo[ o]l.) A capsule or pocket inclosing a number of spermatozoa. They are present in many annelids, brachiopods, mollusks, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spermatophore — spermatophore. См. сперматофор. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Spermatophore — Spermatophore, mit einer äußeren festen Hülle umgebener Haufen von Samenzellen, der vom m anstelle von freiem Sperma abgegeben wird und unterschiedlich geformt sein kann. S. übertragen z.B. Ruderfußkrebse, Cephalopoden, einige Ringelwürmer,… …   Deutsch wörterbuch der biologie

  • spermatophore — [spʉr′mə tə fôr΄, spər mat′əfôr΄] n. [ SPERMATO + PHORE] Zool. a case or capsule containing a number of spermatozoa, expelled whole by the male of certain animals, as in many copepods or leeches spermatophoral [spʉr΄mə täf′ər əl] adj …   English World dictionary

  • Spermatophore — Un spermatophore est une capsule ou une masse créée par les mâles de nombreux animaux, invertébrés comme les arachnides ou les insectes, ou vertébrés comme les tritons, et qui contient des spermatozoïdes. Elle est entièrement transférée au pore… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Spermatophore — Sper|ma|to|pho|re 〈f. 19〉 durch Kittmasse zusammengefügter Haufen von Samenzellen (Samenpaket), der bei manchen niederen Tieren der Samenübertragung dient [<Sperma + grch. pherein „tragen“] * * * Spermatophore   [zu griechisch phoreĩn… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • spermatophore — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: circa 1849 a capsule, packet, or mass enclosing spermatozoa that is extruded by the male of various lower animals (as insects) and is transferred to the reproductive tract of the female …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Spermatophore — Spermatophoren (Samenpakete) dienen bei vielen Würmern, Gliederfüßern, Weichtieren und auch noch bei einigen Amphibien (Molchen) der Spermienübertragung. Es handelt sich um Spermienhaufen, die durch bestimmte Kittsubstanzen zusammengehalten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • spermatophore — a cluster of sperm surrounded by a capsule. The capsule can be deposited into the female and fertilisation can then occur long after this mating …   Dictionary of ichthyology

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