Season effect on genitalia and epididymal sperm from Iberian red deer, roe deer and Cantabrian chamois
Área de conocimiento
Datos de la obra
Theriogenology, 2005, vol. 63, n. 7
Seasonality deeply affects the physiology and behavior of many species, and must be taken into account when biological resource banks (BRBs) are established. We have studied the effect of seasonality on many reproductive parameters of free-ranging Iberian red deer, roe deer and Cantabrian chamois, living in Spain. Testicles from hunted animals were collected and sent to our laboratory at different times during the year. We recorded the weight and volume of testis, the weight of the epididymis and its separate parts (caput, corpus, and cauda), the weight of the sperm sample collected from the cauda epididymis, and several sperm parameters (sperm concentration, spermatozoa recovered, motility, HOS test reactivity, acrosomal status, and viability). We studied the data according to several periods, defined accordingly to each species. For red deer, we defined rut (mid-September to mid-October), post-rut (mid-October to mid-December), and non-breeding season (February). For roe deer, they were pre-rut (June), rut (July), post-rut (first fortnight of August), and non-breeding season (September). For chamois: non-breeding season (June to mid-September) and breeding season (October–November). The rut/breeding season yielded significantly higher numbers for almost all parameters. However, in the case of red deer, sperm quality was higher in the post-rut. For roe deer, testicular weight was similar in the pre-rut and in the rut, and sperm quality did not differ significantly between these two periods, although we noticed higher values in the rut. In the case of chamois, sperm quality did not differ significantly from the breeding season, but data distribution suggested that in the non-breeding season there are less males with sperm of good quality. On the whole, we find these results of interest for BRB planning. The best season to collect sperm in this species would be the breeding season. However, post-rut in red deer, pre-rut in roe deer, and non-breeding season in chamois could be used too, because of the acceptable sperm quality, despite the lower quantity salvaged. More in-depth research needs to be carried out on the quality of sperm salvaged at different times of the year in order to confirm these findings.
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