AskDefine | Define spermatheca

User Contributed Dictionary



From sperma- + theca.


  • (UK) /ˌspɜːməˈθiːkə/
    Rhymes: -iːkə


  1. A small sac within the reproductive tract of some female invertebrates, such as insects, which stores sperm until it is used to fertilize the ova.

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

The spermatheca is an organ of the female reproductive tract in insects, some mollusks, and certain other invertebrates. Its purpose is to receive and store sperm from the male, and it is usually the site of fertilization when the oocytes are ready. Some species have multiple spermathecae. They are lined with epithelium and are variable in shape; some are thin, heavily coiled tubes, others are vague outpocketings from the main reproductive tract. It is one of the many variations in sexual reproduction.
An apiculturist may examine the spermatheca of a queen bee to find out whether it has received sperm from a male.
spermatheca in German: Receptaculum seminis
spermatheca in French: Spermathèque
spermatheca in Persian: اسپرماتکا
spermatheca in Polish: Spermatheca
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