sper·​mato·​phore (ˌ)spər-ˈma-tə-ˌfȯr How to pronounce spermatophore (audio)
: a capsule, packet, or mass enclosing spermatozoa that is extruded by the male of various lower animals (such as insects) and is transferred to the reproductive tract of the female

Examples of spermatophore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When transferred to the female, the spermatophore fertilizes her eggs and supplies her with proteins and nutrition. Rena Kingery, Discover Magazine, 20 Dec. 2021 The appearance of carbon dioxide bubbles inside the spermatophore then forces out the sperm and other contents into the female. Menno Schilthuizen, Discover Magazine, 28 Apr. 2015 And, as if that weren’t enough, the male packs the spermatophore with a defensive substance called lucibufagin that protects the female and her offspring from being eaten. Rena Kingery, Discover Magazine, 20 Dec. 2021 The male butterflies, like many other insects, deliver their sperm inside a package called a spermatophore. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 28 May 2015 Eventually, the male deposits a spermatophore on the ground and, using his tail as an anchor, abruptly shoves the female forward over the packet of sperm, which latches onto her genital opening. Bradley Allf, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Mar. 2021 Fertilization is internal, with the male inserting a spermatophore, or sperm packet, into the female as their abdomens press together. National Geographic, 16 Sep. 2020 Typically, octopuses mate when the male shoots a package of sperm called a spermatophore at the female through the water. Annalee Newitz, Ars Technica, 27 Sep. 2017 Male katydids, for example, produce a spermatophore during mating that can be up to 30 percent of their body mass, which contains both ejaculate and a mass of edible jelly. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, 20 July 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spermatophore.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

circa 1849, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spermatophore was circa 1849

Dictionary Entries Near spermatophore

Cite this Entry

“Spermatophore.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spermatophore. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

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