A study on spermatozoa viability over time in honey bee (Apis mellifera ligustica) queen spermathecae
Marco Lodesani, Donatella Balduzzi and Andrea Galli
27 to 28
At the end of the mating flight(s) early in its adult life, the honey bee queen (Apis mellifera) returns to the hive with an average of 80-90 million spermatozoa in the lateral oviducts and does not mate again. Motility of the sperm and contraction of the longitudinal muscles in the walls of the spermatheca duct cause a vacuum pump effect that results in about 5 million sperm reaching the spermatheca. The remainder of the semen is expelled within the next 24 hours. The sperm in the spermatheca are quiescent for the entire life of the queen. To evaluate two physiological aspects - number and viability - of the sperm in the spermatheca over time, the contents of spermathecae from 12 instrumentally inseminated queens that were two, 12 and 24 months old (four queens per age group) were analysed.