Motility activation and metabolism characteristics of spermatozoa of the black-lip-pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera var: cumingii (Jameson, 1901)

Theriogenology. 2012 Jan 1;77(1):53-64. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2011.07.014. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Motility of Pinctada margaritifera (Linnaeus, 1758); var: cumingii (Jameson, 1901) (P. margaritifera) spermatozoa collected from gonads are not immediately activated at spawning in seawater (SW) but motility occurs when spermatozoa are transferred into alkaline seawater (pH ranging from 9.0 to 11.4). This motility-activating effect of alkaline pH is reversed when pH is shifted back to more acidic values. In both cases, activity of sperm (% motile cells) increases gradually after alkaline pH activation then lasts for several minutes. The characteristics of these fully motile spermatozoa are described in details at the level of flagella: the wave amplitude and wave-length range 5 to 6 μm and 15 μm respectively, while the flagellar beat frequency is approximately 49 Hz. The velocity of sperm displacement is from 220 to 230 μm/sec. The general swimming pattern is almost circular: the head trajectories describe portions of circles intercalated with small linear segments. Spermatozoa saved in natural seawater at 4°C retain potent motility for several days and can be subsequently activated by alkaline seawater. Respiration and ATP concentration were measured in 3 conditions: regular seawater (pH 7.8), artificial diluent (pH 8.2), and alkaline Tris-buffered seawater (pH 10.5). Results show that sperm respiration rates are higher whereas ATP levels are lower in the latter two media.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Pinctada / physiology*
  • Seawater / chemistry
  • Sperm Motility*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism
  • Spermatozoa / physiology*


  • Adenosine Triphosphate