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Tissue Cell. 2008 Oct;40(5):325-31. doi: 10.1016/j.tice.2008.03.001. Epub 2008 Apr 15.

Collection and evaluation of semen from the three-toed sloth (Bradypus tridactylus).

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Department of Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Sloths (Bradypus sp.) are extremely sensitive animals that suffer with the destruction and fragmentation of forests. They present a low population growth rate and need to be further studied for the preservation of the specie. Thus, the aim of this study was to establish an efficient semen collection protocol as well as characterize sperm concentration, motility and morphology in order to contribute with information about the reproductive traits of this specie, which has never been described in the literature before. For that, nine Bradypus tridactylus males were captured during the wet season and six during the dry season, in Manaus (AM), located in the north region of Brazil, semen was collected by electroejaculation with shocks given in sequences of progressive intensities (minimum 20mA and maximum 60mA). All animals ejaculated small volumes of semen and in some of them, the volume ejaculated was not enough for a complete spermiogram. Physical characteristics observed on the collections of the wet season were different from those seen in the specimen collected in the dry season. Motility an vigor was very low and did not show forward progression, only oscillatory movement. After Spermac stain, spermatozoa presented a wide variety of defects; however, the differences in morphology were not significant between seasons. The morphology assessed by scanning electron microscopy shows that the head in both groups could be elongated, short or could have a base narrower than the apex and the midpiece narrowed abruptly, forming a nip in its transition to the tail. Although further studies are necessary to verify our preliminary findings concerning seasonal variation in sperm quality, these results demonstrate that semen can be safely collected from sloths by electroejaculation and provide the first reports of semen characteristics in this species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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