The unusual life style of Strepsiptera has presented a long-standing puzzle in establishing its affinity to other insects. Although Strepsiptera share few structural similarities with other insect orders, all members of this order share a parasitic life style with members of two distinctive families in the Coleoptera—the order now considered the most closely related to Strepsiptera based on recent genomic evidence. Among the structural features of several strepsipteran families and other insect families that have been surveyed are the organization of testes and ultrastructure of sperm cells. For comparison with existing information on insect sperm structure, this manuscript presents a description of testes and sperm of a representative of the most primitive extant strepsipteran family Mengenillidae, Eoxenos laboulbenei
We compare sperm structure of E. laboulbenei
from this family with that of the three other families of Strepsiptera in the other strepsipteran suborder Stylopidia that have been studied as well as with members of the beetle families Meloidae and Rhipiphoridae that share similar life histories with Strepsiptera. Meloids, Rhipiphorids and Strepsipterans all begin larval life as active and viviparous first instar larvae. This study examines global features of these insects’ sperm cells along with specific ultrastructural features of their organelles.