The successive stages of oogenesis and the changes involved in the oocyte degeneration process in the penshell Atrina maura were examined using light and transmission electron microscopy. The ovarian maturation process is asynchronous, as oocytes at different developmental stages can be found simultaneously. Oocytes develop from oogonia and then undergo three distinct stages of oogenesis: previtellogenesis, vitellogenesis and postvitellogenesis with mature oocytes. Atrina maura displays a solitary oogenesis type, in which follicular cells become associated with oocytes from the earliest stages of development and seem to play an integral role in vitellogenesis. The cytoplasm of vitellogenic oocytes contains numerous whorls of rough endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi bodies, suggesting that auto-synthetic vitellogenesis may occur in this species. In addition, the degeneration process of postvitellogenic oocytes triggered by a seasonal increase in water temperature (> 25°C) is described.
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Vol. 59 • No. 1