A study of the cyclical changes in the distribution of testis lipids in the pike reveals a sequence of events comparable with that occurring in seasonal birds. These events include the post-nuptial appearance of cholesterol-positive lipid material which accumulates within the seminiferous lobules, and its subsequent gradual disappearance. A lipid cycle occurs also in the lobule walls, where apparently fibroblasts, in the absence of a true secretory interstitium, become glandular and probably take on an endocrine function. These ‘lobule boundary cells’ seasonally accumulate cholesterol-positive cytoplasmic lipids which suddenly become depleted at the time of the annual pre-spawning assembly.
The pike differs from wild birds in the ‘timing’ of such rhythmical activity. In birds, despite a rapid post-nuptial interstitial regeneration, the tubule cholesterol lingers until spermatogenesis begins during the following late winter or spring. In the poikilothermous pike, on the other hand, the next spermatogenesis begins almost immediately (in June, when the temperature of the water is still rising). It continues without interruption while the length of day and later the temperature decrease, until the testis reaches its maximum size in December. ‘Lobule boundary cells’ start to become lipoidal in September, at a time of high temperature but decreasing day-length. The cells are fully charged by December. Both tubules and gland-cells now become inactive. Then in April at the spring period of increasing day-length, and immediately a iter water temperature starts to rise, the boundary cells begin to secrete and the prespawning assembly occurs. This is followed by the shedding of spermatozoa later in the month or early in May. The only period of true inactivity is at the height of spermatogenesis during mid-winter and early spring.