Open Access

Relationship of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus L.) sperm morphology with age of males, sperm concentration, ejaculate volume and acrosin activity


The aim of the study was to determine the relationship of sperm morphology with age of males, ejaculate concentration and volume, as well as with acrosin activity determined in sperm acrosome extracts. The study used manually collected ejaculates from 9 male arctic foxes, including 6 young males aged one year and 3 older males (between 3 and 5 years of age). All of the 39 ejaculates used in the study were classified as normal based on motility exceeding 70%. The ejaculates collected from the foxes were evaluated for volume, sperm concentration and frequency of morphological changes including primary and secondary defects. The spermiograms of the male arctic foxes were classified according to a six-grade subjective scale. In addition, acrosin activity was determined in the sperm acrosome extracts. The data were analysed using the criteria of male age, sperm concentration, ejaculate volume, and acrosin activity. The morphology of arctic fox spermatozoa was dependent on the age of the male. A greater number of morphologically altered spermatozoa tended to occur in the ejaculates of young foxes, which were in their first breeding season. In addition, statistical analysis revealed positive relationships between the frequency of morphological changes in sperm and their ejaculate concentration. In contrast, there were no significant correlations between the percentages of morphologically changed spermatozoa and the ejaculate volume and the content of acrosin, which is an indicator of acrosomal integrity. Semen quality is dependent on the number of sperm in ejaculate with morphological defects which prevent oocyte fertilization. Therefore, morphological assessment of semen, which covers both the number and type of morphological changes, is highly useful when selecting appropriate males for reproduction.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Biotechnology, Zoology, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine