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n. pl. sper·ma·the·cae (-sē)
A receptacle in the reproductive tract of many female or hermaphrodite invertebrates and certain female vertebrates, in which spermatozoa are received and stored until needed to fertilize the ova.

[Late Latin sperma, semen; see sperm1 + theca.]

sper′ma·the′cal adj.


n, pl -cas or -cae (-kiː)
(Zoology) a sac or cavity within the body of many female invertebrates, esp insects, used for storing spermatozoa before fertilization takes place
[C19: see sperm1, theca]
ˌspermaˈthecal adj


(ˌspɜr məˈθi kə)

n., pl. -cae (-sē).
a sac for storing sperm, present in certain female invertebrates, as the queen bee.
[1820–30; sperma- (variant of spermato-, spermo-) + theca]
References in periodicals archive ?
1 Anterior part of 4th antennal segment dark brown; apical margin of male paramere almost straight with distinct and quite thick apical spin; spermathecal bulb with four processes of variable shape and size .
This is especially noted for the lengths of the spermathecal duct and diverticulum, as well as the epiphallic cecum.
4% of wild females contained spermathecal contents indicating the female had mated twice.
Female: Cibarium with four radiated triangular horizontal teeth, an irregular row of small vertical teeth, and complete arch; spermathecal individual ducts shorter than 4 times the length of the furca stem; spermatheca broader than long, spherical, without annulations, narrowest than spermathecal common duct (Ibanez-Bernal 2003).
Preliminary research on spermathecal loads among primiparous and multiparous females in the eastern Bering Sea has shown that they were significantly lower than those of females in the Gulf of St.
This is a small subfamily characterized by the presence of a blunt process on the right maxillary stylet; the pedicellus with membranous rings inserted between sclerotized areas; the hind wing with a broad postcubital sector; hook-shaped parameres; endosomal struts absent; genital sclerites hidden between sternite 7 and tergite 8; proximal portion of the lateral spermathecal duct has a very elaborate and thick wall; they also show a bifid scutellar posterior process (Weirauch, 2008).
The female differs in the relatively short and compact spermathecal ducts (Fig.
Theyonly described and illustrated the spermathecal bulb, while not describing the external terminalia because these were damaged in the paratype.
Spermathecal duct thin and long, slightly expanded near base of inner base of spermatheca (Fig.
The spermathecal opening above the ventral valves (Belyaeva and Dovgobrod, 2006) was not visible due either to damage during dissections or incomplete removal of subgenital plates.
The genus is characterized by long hose-like atria, vestigial vasa deferentia, small or completely lacking prostate glands, and presence (in most species) of simple-pointed and distally grooved, often nib-shaped, spermathecal chaetae (Fig.
The spermathecal duct lacks an appendix, is about 11mm long, slender, and enters the free oviduct shortly above the atrium to form a short vagina.