CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a single human spermatozoon, showing the division of the body into a head & tail section. The sperm's tail enables it to swim, an essential action in reaching the female ovum. The mature male sex-cell (male gamete), is carried in the head, the top part of which is capped by the acrosome, which breaks down just before fertilis- ation, releasing enzymes which assist in the penetration of the follicle cells surrounding the ovum. Only a single sperm succeeds in penetrating & fertilising the ovum; rapid changes in the wall of the ovum prevent further penetration. Magnification: x1800 at 35mm, x3600 at 6x7cm size.
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