Ultrastructure of the nebenkern during spermatogenesis in the praying mantid Hierodula membranacea

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Spermatogenesis leads to the formation of functional sperm cells. Here we have applied high-pressure freezing in combination with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to study the ultrastructure of sperm development in subadult males of the praying mantid Hierodula membranacea, a species in which spermatogenesis had not previously been studied. We show the ultrastructure of different stages of sperm development in this species. Thorough examination of TEM data and electron tomographic reconstructions revealed interesting structural features of the nebenkern, an organelle composed of fused mitochondria that has been studied in spermatids of other insect species. We have applied serial-section electron tomography of the nebenkern to demonstrate in three dimensions (3D) that this organelle in H. membranacea is composed of two interwoven mitochondrial derivatives, and that the mitochondrial derivatives are connected by a zipper-like structure at opposing positions. Our approach will enable further ultrastructural analyses of the nebenkern in other organisms.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0285073
Number of pages15
JournalPloS one
Volume18 (2023)
Issue number7 July
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85165934760
PubMed 37498864



  • Animals, Male, Mantodea, Semen, Spermatogenesis, Spermatozoa, Spermatids, Mitochondria