Sperm Tails of a Beetle

Sperm Tails of a Beetle

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Credit: David M. Phillips/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sperm tails. Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of cross sections through sperm tails of a beetle. A sperm's tail's ability to move is partly due to the arrangement of microtubules (part of the cell's cytoskeleton) within the tail. The microtubules are arranged in a central axoneme with two central single microtubules and nine peripheral double microtubules. Surrounding the microtubules are dense fibers, which provide rigidity and protection to the tail. Next is a layer of mitochondria which provide the energy for movement. Finally the tail is wrapped in a protective outer sheath.

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