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Some characteristics of sperm motility in European hake (Merluccius merluccius, L., 1758)


Author’s address: A.-L. Groison, Department of Biology, University of Bergen, PO Box 7803, Thormøhlensgate 55, N-5020 Bergen, Norway.


The objective of this paper is to characterize some of the sperm motility parameters in European hake (Merluccius merluccius), which is considered to be a species with aquaculture potential. The total ATP, ADP and AMP concentrations were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography on hake sperm samples collected during the winter-early spring in the Bay of Biscay (France) (n = 22) and on hake sperm samples collected during the summer-early autumn in waters off Western Norway (n = 5). The Adenylate Energy Charge (AEC) was deduced from these data. Computer Assisted Sperm Analysis (CASA) was used to measure a series of parameters characterizing the motility and the sperm swimming performances. Changes in salinity of the swimming medium affected all the measured motility parameters. The sperm velocity and the straightness of the movement were at maximum when sperm was activated with 100% filtrated sea water (100 SW) but decreased sharply later. When sperm was activated in filtrated sea water (50% diluted with distilled water: 50 SW) the values of these parameters increased (with a lower percentage of active cells) during the first 2.5 min and thereafter decreased slowly. In 50 SW, the initial velocity was lowered but the swimming period lasting 4.5 times longer than in 100 SW (but with a lower percentage of actively swimming cells). Initial sperm motility (percentage of swimming cells) in 100 SW was affected by sperm storage duration. Undiluted sperm could be stored at 4°C for 5 days and still show 13 ± 7% motility; the velocity and straightness of the movement were at maximum at the earliest period of measurement (0.5–1 day of storage) and then decreased gradually to reach their minima after 4 days of storage. Further, both the AEC and ATP content decreased with storage time, with the AEC decreasing from 0.78 ± 0.07 (mean ± SD) at stripping time to 0.20 ± 0.09 after 2 days of storage. Over the same period ATP content decreased from 85 ± 80 to 5 ± 4 nanomoles 10−9 spermatozoa, these data presenting a high variability.