Coloured SEM of surf clam sperm surrounding egg

Coloured SEM of surf clam sperm surrounding egg

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Credit: D. PHILLIPS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fertilisation. Coloured scanning electron micro- graph (SEM) of sperm surrounding an egg of the surf clam Spisula solidissima. The male clam produces many more sperm than the female clam has eggs. The small sperm swim with whiplash movements of their tail, through water, to reach the larger eggs (ova) released by the female. Although many sperm may reach an egg, only one sperm will succeed in penetrating and fertilising it. At fertilisation, the DNA genetic material of the successful male sperm pairs with the DNA of the egg, enabling a new clam embryo to develop. Magnification: x960 at 6x7cm, x480 at 35mm size.

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Keywords: anatomy, animal body, animal fertilisation, clam, egg, egg and sperm, egg/sperm, fertilisation, ovum, sperm, spisula solidissima, surf clam

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