A biological switching valve evolved in the female of a sex-role reversed cave insect to receive multiple seminal packages

  1. Kazunori Yoshizawa  Is a corresponding author
  2. Yoshitaka Kamimura  Is a corresponding author
  3. Charles Lienhard  Is a corresponding author
  4. Rodrigo L Ferreira  Is a corresponding author
  5. Alexander Blanke  Is a corresponding author
  1. Hokkaido University, Japan
  2. Keio University, Japan
  3. Natural History Museum of Geneva, Switzerland
  4. Federal University of Lavras, Brazil
  5. University of Cologne, Köln
  6. University of Hull, United Kingdom
2 figures, 1 video, 2 tables and 1 additional file


Morphology of the spermatheca and spermathecal plate of Neotrogla.

(A) Whole abdomen of a virgin female showing the location of the mating system. T8 and 9 indicate tergites 8 and 9. (B) Light microscopy photograph of the spermathecal plate with a single seminal capsule. (C) CLSM image of the spermathecal plate. (D) 3D segmentation of the spermathecal plate with no seminal capsule. Dotted line indicates the section plane shown in F and G. (E) 3D segmentation of the spermathecal plate with two seminal capsules and showing seminal flow. (F) Attachment points for the seminal capsules in the virgin female. (G) The base of two seminal capsules in different stages of connection to the spermathecal plate (corresponding to the two seminal capsules in Figure 1E).

Morphology of the closure element (CE) and its associated structures.

(A) Muscle attachment to CE. (B) 3D segmentation of Figure 2A. (C) Detail of CE. (D) CLSM image of CE and neighboring structures. (E) Schematic illustration of the function of the switching valve system in closed (left) and opened (right) conditions.



Video 1
3D segmentation of the spermatheca and two seminal capsules attached to the spermathecal plate (see Figure 1E).


Table 1
Valve terminology used in the text
ActuatorDevice used to operate a valve using electric,
pneumatic or hydraulic means
BodyThe principal pressure-containing part of a valve in
which the closure element and seats are located
Closure element (CE)The moving part of a valve, positioned in the flow
stream, that controls the flow through the valve,
for example wedge, plug, clapper, ball
ControllerA device that directs the flow of a valve
End connectionThe type of connection supplied on the ends of a
valve that allows it to be connected to piping — may
be a welded end, flanged end, threaded or socket
Pennation angleThe oblique attachment of single muscle fascicles to
the CE. It was measured as the angle between the
outermost fascicles in a given muscle bundle
Table 2
Measurements of each component of the spermathecal plate.
ObjectPennation angleAttachment area of muscle [cm2]Muscle strength [mN]Length [mm]Volume [µm3]Mass [µg]
Muscle m134.160.00001990.65620.1
Muscle m230.180.00001910.63190.08
Muscle m315.590.00000230.07580.09
Muscle m444.550.00001330.43740.09
Muscle m512.260.00000330.10960.09
Muscle m632.750.00000730.23940.11
Sum of muscle strength2.1503
Closure element0.03
Spermathecal pouch18474437790.0021246
Body sclerite 11997093000.0002297
Body sclerite 21014344100.0001166

Additional files

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

  1. Kazunori Yoshizawa
  2. Yoshitaka Kamimura
  3. Charles Lienhard
  4. Rodrigo L Ferreira
  5. Alexander Blanke
A biological switching valve evolved in the female of a sex-role reversed cave insect to receive multiple seminal packages
eLife 7:e39563.