Intromittent organ  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wiki Commons

Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

An intromittent organ is a general term for an external organ of a male organism that is specialized to deliver sperm during copulation. Intromittent organs are found most often in terrestrial species, as most aquatic species fertilize their eggs externally, although there are exceptions.


Species with intromittent organs


Male cephalopods have a specialized arm, the hectocotylus, which is inserted into the female's mantle cavity to deliver a spermatophore during copulation. In some species, the hectocotylus breaks off inside the female's mantle cavity; in others, it can be used repeatedly to copulate with different females.


Male insects possess an aedeagus, whose function is directly analogous to that of the vertebrate penis. Some insects also have claspers. Male moths have an additional organ called the juxta, which supports the aedeagus.


In male members of Chondrichthyes (sharks and rays), as well as now-extinct placoderms, the pelvic fins bear specialized claspers. During copulation, one clasper is inserted into the female's cloaca, and sperm is flushed by the male's body through a groove into the female.

Members of Poeciliidae are small fishes that give birth to live young. In males, the anal fin is shaped into a grooved, rod-shaped organ called a gonopodium used to deliver sperm to females.


In lizards and snakes, males possess paired hemipenes, each of which is usually grooved to allow sperm transport and spiny or rough at the tip to allow firm attachment to the female. To become erect, a hemipenis is evaginated (turned inside out) through muscle action and engorgement with blood. Only one is inserted into the female's cloaca at a time.

In some turtles, crocodiles, some birds, and mammals, males possess a penis centered along the midline of the body. During copulation it becomes erect due to engorgement with blood or lymph. When not in use, it is usually flaccid, and depending on the species, may be retracted into the body. The anatomy of the penis varies according to species.

Male ostriches have a conical shaped penis that is wider at the base. Male ducks have a penis that is coiled along the ventral wall of the cloaca when flaccid and which may have an elaborate spiral shape when erect.

All male mammals have a penis. Insectivores, bats, rodents, carnivorans, and most primates (but not humans) have a bone called the baculum or os penis that permanently stiffens the penis. During copulation, blood engorges the already-stiff penis resulting in a

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Intromittent organ" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools