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Sperm quality can be variable in morphometric and physiological attributes between males of different species, between males within species subtypes reared under different environmental conditions, between ejaculates of the same male or even between sperm populations within an ejaculate. Clinical semen evaluation is based on evaluation of whole ejaculates, which is not a chemically or physiologically well-defined entity, rather a collection of heterogeneous subpopulations giving different measurements and possessing different fertilizing potential. Identification of subpopulations with different motility patterns is important as well as characterizing the subtle structural changes underlying the motility differences observed. The ability to identify populations of sperm responding rapidly or failing to progress through the capacitation process may have clinical applications. Studies of lipid-phase fluidity of sperm membranes, mathematical modelling of membrane ion transport, role of modifying components and detergent-resistant microdomains are of particular interest. When customizing extenders to ejaculates from cryosensitive males or species, a thorough knowledge of species sperm membrane physiology and an assessment of the individual ejaculate's sperm populations are necessary. Structural differences have been found in sperm membranes between fox species with different cryosurvival potential of their spermatozoa. Supplementation of lipids and detergents in cryoextenders may influence membrane fluidity of the surviving spermatozoa in a species-dependent manner and influence capacitation. Immobilization of sperm prior to cryopreservation with subsequent slow release of sperm in the female genital tract may be a way to prolong the fertile life of sperm. In canids with a long oocyte maturation time, delayed capacitation may be beneficial.