Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)

Spermatozoon head size – the main differentiating feature between spermatozoa of blue and white Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus)

Karolina Stasiak; Dorota Cygan-Szczegielniak; Joanna Bogucka

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Morphology and sperm morphometry, this is an important determinant of male reproductive capacity. Morphometric data may provide relevant information in studies focused on evolutionary biology, sperm quality assessment, including prediction of the potential fertility, semen cryopreservation, or the effect of reprotoxicants. The paper presents the morphometric analysis of spermatozoa from two colour morphs of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), and attempts to determine the relationship between selected quality indicators and dimensions and shape of spermatozoa. The research material consisted of ejaculates collected once by manual stimulation from 20 one-year-old Arctic foxes (10 individuals of the blue morph and 10 of the white morph). Ejaculates were analysed for standard parameters (volume, sperm concentration, total number of spermatozoa in the ejaculate) and used for the preparation of microscopic specimens. It was found that, the dimensions of spermatozoa from Arctic foxes depend on the male colour morphs. Spermatozoa from white Arctic foxes were significantly longer (by 1.82 µm) and had larger heads (0.32 µm longer and 0.15 µm wider) compared to spermatozoa from blue Arctic foxes (P<0.05). The interactions between particular sperm dimensions indicated the occurrence of gametes differing in shape. The all correlation coefficients between the morphometric traits of spermatozoa were statistically significant. Our research proved that in the blue Arctic foxes, sperm dimensions (tail length and total sperm length) can be related to the percentage of spermatozoa with primary changes (respectively: r = -0.68 and r = -0.75; at P <0.05). However, in the case of white Arctic foxes, these characteristics depend on the ejaculate volume (respectively: r = 0.65 and r = 0.68; at P <0.05).


arctic fox, ejaculate, sperm dimensions, sperm morphometry


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