Female salamanders in the suborder Salamandroidea store sperm in cloacal glands called spermathecae. Scanning electron microscopy was used to study these glands in females of the Southern Torrent Salamander, Rhyacotriton variegatus (Rhyacotritonidae), from northern California. Sperm initially enter the cloaca in a tangled mass from the spermatophore cap, but within the spermathecal tubules, small groups become aligned along their long axes. Sperm nuclei typically are embedded in apical microvilli of the secretory cells forming the distal acini of the spermathecae. Junctional complexes between apices of adjacent epithelial cells are occasionally broached or otherwise absent, and sperm can be found in the intercellular canaliculi between such cells. Spermathecae of R. variegatus are simple glands that branch off a tube extending dorsally into cloacal tissue. This spermathecal anatomy is in-between that of the Plethodontidae, which have a compound tubuloaveolar gland as the single spermatheca, and other salamandroids, in which sperm storage occurs in numerous simple tubular glands, each one a spermatheca. Sperm associations in the simple spermathecae of R. variegatus, however, are most similar to those reported for plethodontids.
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