Comparative evaluation of the effects of different activating media and temperatures on European eel (Anguilla anguilla) sperm motility assessed by computer assisted sperm analysis

Res Vet Sci. 2023 Nov:164:105045. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2023.105045. Epub 2023 Oct 4.


The European eel is a critically endangered teleost fish with very poor success rate for captive breeding and artificial reproduction. Therefore, to support its conservation, new strategies are needed to ensure fertilization. Objective analysis of sperm motility may be critical as it potentially represents one of the most important reproductive quality parameters. Spermatozoa acquire motility once in contact with hyperosmotic solutions as saltwater, yet the exact mechanisms and the role of temperature are still to be clarified. The main aim of the study was to assess the effects of 3 activating media (artificial sea water, tank water and commercial Actifish®) at 4 and 20 °C on sperm motility, by means of computer assisted sperm analysis. Secondary aim was to test 2 different concentrations of Actifish® mimicking sea water pH/osmolality, at 4 °C. The results suggested how both temperature and activating media have effects on spermatozoa motility and kinematics, with temperature mainly acting upon interaction with the media type. The samples activated with tank water at 20 °C showed the poorest motility outcomes (mean 38.1%), while the ones activated with Actifish® diluted 1:4 and artificial sea water, at 4 °C, the highest (means 51.8 and 51.5% respectively). Additionally, diluting Actifish® to reach same pH and osmolality of seawater led to worse motility outcomes, suggesting that composition may be the critical factor for activation rather than osmolality itself.

Keywords: Activation media; Activation temperature; Captive breeding; European eel; Sperm motility.

MeSH terms

  • Anguilla*
  • Animals
  • Computers
  • Male
  • Semen
  • Sperm Motility*
  • Spermatozoa
  • Temperature
  • Water


  • Water