noun, plural: gynecophores
A receptacle, often in the ventral body, of certain adult male animals (dioecious trematodes) to carry the adult female
A gynaecophore is a receptacle in the body of certain male animals such as the dioecious trematodes, particularly the schistosomes. Schistosomes are parasitic worms that are characterized by their sexual dimorphism. The male adult is larger than the female adult and throughout their adult life the mated schistosomes live closely together. The male schistosome has a gynaecophore that it uses to carry the adult female. The gynaecophore is a ventral groove or canal that fits the female worm and from where the latter resides throughout adult life. Nevertheless, certain studies reported that the females may leave their mate for another male schistosome. 1
The gynaecophore is essential to mated schistosomes to ensure reproduction. It allows direct contact between the male and the female schistosomes. Recent studies implicated the involvement of TGFβ pathway as an important signaling component for worm pairing.2
Word origin: Ancient Greek gunaiko– (“female”) + -phoros (“bearing”)
1 “Even Blood Flukes Get Divorced – The Loom”. The Loom. 2008-10-08. Retrieved from ://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2008/10/08/even-blood-flukes-get-divorced/#.V5Kt0rh97tS.
2 Osman A, Niles EG, Verjovski-Almeida S, LoVerde PT (2006) Schistosoma mansoni TGF-β Receptor II: Role in Host Ligand-Induced Regulation of a Schistosome Target Gene. PLoS Pathog 2(6): e54. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.0020054