Wolffian Duct

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Related to Archinephric duct: epididymis, mesonephric duct, metanephric duct, mullerian duct

Wolffian duct

[′wu̇l·fē·ən ′dəkt]

Wolffian Duct


(from the name of the naturalist K. F. Wolff), tubule of the primary or truncal kidney, the mesonephros (Wolffian body). It develops in almost all vertebrates from the rudiment growing from the head kidney, the pronepriros, to the cloaca. The Wolffian duct appears to be formed metamerically only in elasmobranch fishes. In the embryos and larvae of bony fishes and amphibians, the Wolffian duct is the excretory duct of the pronephros and mesonephros, but only of the mesonephros in sexually mature females. In male amphibians, a connection forms between the testis and Wolffian duct; the latter functions simultaneously both as a ureter and as a sperm duct. In reptiles, birds, and mammals, due to the appearance of the pelvic kidney, the metanephros with a secondary ureter, the Wolffian duct functions only in the early stages of development, after which it becomes just a sperm duct in males and degenerates in females.


Potemkina, D. A. “O sposobe obrazovaniia vol’fova protoka u amfibii.” Dokl. AN SSSR, 1951, vol. 80, no. 2.