Jamieson, B.G.M., Koehler, L. and Todd, B.J. 1995a. Spermatozoal ultrastructure in three species of parrots (Aves, Psittaciformes) and its phylogenetic implications. The Anatomical Record 241, 461-468.
Background: DNA-DNA hybridization studies suggest that Psittaciformes are highly, but not the most, derived nonpasserines. Multilocus protein electrophoresis indicates that cockatoos (Cacatuinae) form a monophyletic lineage distant from the other Australo-Papuan psittacids (Psittacinae). Methods: Transmission electron microscope procedures are applied to the spermatozoa of three parrots, in the Cacatuninae and Psittacinae, to investigate these relationships. Results. Psittaciform sperm have the following characteristics: (1) conical acrosome vesicle; rodlike perforatorium; cylindrical, highly condensed nucleus; proximal and distal centriole embedded in dense material; elongate periaxonemal mitochondrial midpiece, (2) nine dense peripheral axonemal fibers (coarse fibers), (3) no fibrous sheath around the axoneme, (4) mitochondria with linear cristae, lacking intra- (or inter-) mitochondrial dense bodies, (5) restriction of the endonuclear perforatorial canal to the anterior region of the nucleus, (6) a short distal centriole, and (7) nucleus abutting on but not penetrating the acrosome. Conclusions: (1) These features are tetrapod symplesiomorphies, (2) is an amniote synapomorphy; the fibers differ from those of reptiles in being uniform in size, (3) loss of the fibrous sheath is an apomorphy known elsewhere only in columbiforms, (4) are apomorphies relative to basal aminiotes (Chelonia, Sphenodon, and Crocodilia), (5) is an apomorphic condition shared with other nonpasserines (galliforms and the white-naped crane) and crocodilians, (6) the latter taxa differ from parrots in a plesiomorphic elongation of the distal centriole, and (7) is a unique apomorphy of parrot sperm relative to other nonpasserines and reptiles. The short midpiece of N. hollandicus distinguishes this cacatuine from the two psittacines.