Wise, winsome, or weird? Mechanisms of sperm storage in female animals

Curr Top Dev Biol. 1999;41:67-97. doi: 10.1016/s0070-2153(08)60270-7.


Female sperm storage is an integral part of the reproductive pattern of many species. In the female, sperm become sequestered in specialized storage organs or reservoirs, where they may remain for several days, weeks, months, or years before being used to fertilize eggs. Several different but interrelated mechanisms are used by animals to target the sperm to the portion of the female genital tract adapted for sperm storage. Both males and females influence this process. This review describes themes among the mechanisms and molecules necessary for sperm to become efficiently stored in females and the roles that the female storage organs play in the nourishment, protection, and release of stored sperm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemotaxis
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / anatomy & histology
  • Genitalia, Female / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Semen / physiology
  • Sperm Motility
  • Spermatozoa / physiology*