One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in a female or hermaphrodite invertebrate) a receptacle in which sperm is stored after mating.
- ‘To ensure that we counted all sperm transferred, we assessed the number of sperm contained in both the inseminated spermatheca and the associated insemination ducts.’
- ‘After dissection, the spermathecae were stored separately in alcohol for later DNA-microsatellite analysis.’
- ‘The flexing of these muscles may act to pump sperm out of the spermatheca along with secretions from the spermathecal gland, which pass through the ramus and mix with the sperm.’
- ‘Females were dissected and the spermathecae removed.’
- ‘We could ascribe unambiguously the content of each spermathecae to either of the two mates for only 12 females.’
Early 19th century: from late Latin sperma ‘sperm’ + theca.
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