Between male variation in semen characteristics and preliminary results on the dilution of semen in the ostrich
This study is part of an ongoing project on artificial insemination in ostriches. The physical output of neat semen from four ostrich males was investigated and the effect of reconstituting semen with: 1) seminal plasma of the same male (SPS); 2) seminal plasma of another male (SPD), and 3) Dulbecco’s Modified Eagles Medium (DMEM). Semen was collected daily from one or two pairs of males using the dummy female method, each pair being replicated twice. Spermatozoa viability in neat semen, SPS, SPD and DMEM was assessed using nigrosin-eosin staining and the proportions of live normal, live abnormal and dead sperm were determined. Semen volume (mean ± SE) was 1.27 ± 0.13 mL, the concentration of spermatozoa 3.68 ± 0.17 x 109 /mL and the number of spermatozoa 4.92 ± 0.64 x 109 /ejaculate. Furthermore, the live normal, live abnormal and dead spermatozoa in the neat semen were 61.2 ± 4.5%, 21.2 ± 2.7% and 17.7 ± 4.3% respectively. The ejaculate volume and the number of dead spermatozoa were not affected by collection time. However, the number of live abnormal spermatozoa increased through the day causing a reduction in live normal spermatozoa. Furthermore, re-suspending spermatozoa in DMEM reduced the number of live normal (31.4 ± 4.6%) and live abnormal spermatozoa (11.0 ± 2.7%) and increased the number of dead spermatozoa (57.6 ± 4.4%). In contrast, numbers of live spermatozoa were higher when suspended in seminal plasma and similar in SPS (53.9 ± 4.6%) and SPD (50.7 ± 4.6%). These are the first crucial steps to determining the optimum semen collection time and to improving the viability of diluted spermatozoa.
Keywords: Artificial insemination; diluent; spermatozoa morphology and viability; Struthio camelus