University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters, South Bohemian Research Center of Aquaculture and Biodiversity of Hydrocenoses, Research Institute of Fish Culture and Hydrobiology, Zátiší 728/II, 389 25, Vodňany, Czech Republic. Electronic address: [Email]
Morphology of the urogenital system has evolved during fish speciation. Chondrostei (sturgeons and paddlefishes) possess an excretory system which is called "primitive" in that the sperm ducts enter the kidneys and share the excretory ducts where sperm is mixed with urine before it is released into the spawning environment. Further, in this group of fishes there are also physiological characteristics which are associated with these anatomical features where the mixing of sperm and urine is a prerequisite for the final sperm maturation rather than contamination. In the Holostei (gars and bowfins) which are closely related to the Chondrostei, sperm also naturally mixed with urine, but the physiological role of such mixing for sperm biology has not been described. In contrast, urinary and sperm ducts in the more evolved Teleostei are completely separate, and sperm and urine are not mixed before being released during spawning. Thus, urine constitutes an inappropriate environment which can be a source of problems when sperm is collected during fisheries practices. In this review, the consequences of such divergent conditions in the urogenital anatomy will be considered in relation to general features of fish sperm biology and in relation to aquaculture and fisheries practices.