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Sperm motility and longevity in the giant cuttlefish, Sepia apama (Mollusca: Cephalopoda)
Naud, M.-J.; Havenhand, J.N. (2006). Sperm motility and longevity in the giant cuttlefish, Sepia apama (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 148(3): 559-566.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Naud, M.-J.
  • Havenhand, J.N.

    The sperm kinetics and fertilisation literature in marine invertebrates is heavily biased toward free-spawning species. Nonetheless, many species (e.g. cephalopods) transfer and/or fertilise gametes in confined external spaces or internally, creating very different selective pressures on sperm storage, sperm longevity and hence sperm competition. Here we report the results of an investigation into the effects of sperm age, water temperature and sperm concentration on sperm motility in the giant cuttlefish (Sepia apama). Significant positive correlations were found between percent motility and sperm concentration, and between sperm motile speed and sperm concentration. Mean percent motility of cuttlefish sperm suspension was still 9% eight hours after being released from the spermatophore and diluted into filtered seawater at 12°C (ambient field temperature during the spawning season). Sperm resuspended from spermatangia taken from (mated) females in the field were motile for up to 100 hours. When spermatophores were stored at 4°C motility was still observed in resuspended sperm after two months. Our results show that spermatangia and spermatophores can retain and release live sperm for long periods. The observed longevity of sperm in S. apama greatly increases the potential for sperm competition in this species.

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