The influence of prolonged storage of boar epididymides on post-thaw sperm motility, and in vitro fertilization was evaluated. Twenty pairs of epididymides were obtained from Large White boars, and spermatozoa from one of each of the pairs were immediately collected and frozen (control group). The remaining epididymides were cooled to 4 degrees C and stored for 1, 2 or 3 d, after which spermatozoa were collected and frozen (experimental groups Day 1, 2 and 3, respectively). Sperm motility was maintained throughout the dilution procedure and then dropped (P < 0.01) after freezing and thawing. During storage the motility of nonfrozen spermatozoa decreased significantly (P < 0.01), reaching a value equal to that of frozen-thawed spermatozoa on Day 3. In vitro fertilization experiments revealed significantly (P < 0.05) lower penetration rates using Day 1, 2 and 3 stored spermatozoa (12, 13 and 2%, respectively) than that of the control group (40%). Oocyte penetration ability seemed to be reflected by acrosome integrity. However, the motility of spermatozoa with the ability to penetrate oocytes in Day 1 and Day 2 groups did not differ from that of the controls. The motility of spermatozoa lacking penetration ability, on the other hand, gradually decreased as the storage period was prolonged. This suggests that the sperm motility and penetration ability are affected by different mechanisms during the cold storage of epididymides. Finally, control and experimental groups exhibited high incidences of monospermic penetration (64 to 90%) and of male pronuclear formation (67 to 71%). These data suggest that cryopreservation of spermatozoa from boar epididymides stored at 4 degrees C for 1 to 2 d can be used for conserving male germ cells when epididymal spermatozoa can not be collected immediately and cryopreserved.