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Formicki K., Smaruj I., Szulc J., Winnicki A. 2009. Microtubular network of the gelatinous egg envelope within the egg ribbon of European perch, Perca fluviatilis L. Acta Ichthyol. Piscat. 39 (2): 147–151.

Background. After their deposition in water, eggs of perch form characteristic, long gelatinous ribbons (strands) floating within the water column. The ultrastructure of the external gelatinious egg envelope of members of the family Percidae was believed to be amorphous. The aim of the presently reported study was to describe the ultrastructure and function of the gelatinous egg envelope composing the perch egg ribbon.

Materials and methods. Fresh eggs of European perch, Perca fluviatilis L., were collected, in the form of egg ribbons, from females caught at the spawning grounds on the Odra River side canal Dziewoklicz, within the city limits of Szczecin, Poland. After fertilization eggs were fixed in 4%formaldehyde. In the laboratory, the commonly accepted techniques (dehydration, critical-point drying, sputter coating) were used to prepare samples for examination with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The observations were photographically documented.

Results. Closely below the surface of the gelatinous egg ribbon we observed a network of microtubules. These microtubules opened at the egg ribbon surface in the form of ring-like or nozzle-like pores.

Conclusion. The gelatinous egg envelope of perch is a complex microtubular network that likely performs a skeletal role for the egg ribbon. Our results also suggest that the regular surface openings of the aforementioned network may play an attachment function (micro-suckers) reciprocally between eggs and between eggs and other objects, thereby facilitating the fastening the eggs to underwater vegetation.

Keywords: European perch, Perca fluviatilis, gelatinous egg envelope, egg ribbon, microtubular network


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DOI: 10.3750/AIP2009.39.2.10

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