Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

Studies of the accessory glands of male marsupials

JC Rodger and RL Hughes

Australian Journal of Zoology 21(3) 303 - 320
Published: 1973


The reproductive tracts of males from eight species of Australian marsupial were examined (Macropus eugenii, Potovous tridactyhs, Sminthopsis crassicaudata, Antechinus stuartii, Pseudocheirus peregrinus, Trichosurus vulpecula, Isoodon macrourus, and Perameles nasuta). The prostate glands of these species were found to be of two shapes, carrot-like or heart-like. From one to three pairs of Cowper's glands were observed; these were mostly bulbous in shape but some were kidney-shaped. Both prostate and Cowper's glands were tubular in structure with the glandular tubules lined by a simple columnar epithelium. The glandular tubules of Cowper's glands were of much larger diameter than those of the prostate. The prostate glands were segmented, and this segmentation was usually shown by variations in the height and staining reactions of the tubular epithelium and in the volume of connective tissue between glandular tubules. Differences in microanatomy between pairs of Cowper's glands were far less than those between prostate segments. Mucosubstance appeared to be the major contribution of the prostate to the seminal plasma. This mucosubstance was mainly neutral, with glycogen largely absent. The present results indicate that the Cowper's glands secrete mucus but that various glands also contributed lipid and glycogen.

© CSIRO 1973

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