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  • Author: E. G. Crichton x
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P. H. Krutzsch and E. G. Crichton

Summary. The major reproductive events in the male eastern pipistrelle, are similar to those of other hibernating vespertilionids. The eastern pipistrelle stores epididymal spermatozoa throughout hibernation, a time when the testes are involuted but accessory gland activity is maintained. However, this species differs from others in that epididymal and testicular spermatozoa persist longer and the weights of the accessory glands are not strongly differentiated between winter and spring/summer. It is suggested that the reproductive period is extended in this species as a function of a more prolonged period of hibernation, resulting in only a brief period of sexual quiescence in mid-summer. The eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus) resembles the canyon bat (P. hesperus) in that some testicular spermatozoa persist during winter. Many aspects of the reproductive anatomy and chronology of these two species are similar; however, eastern pipistrelles apparently lack a seminal vesicle and possess a distinctly different baculum.

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E. G. Crichton, P. H. Krutzsch and R. Yanagimachi

Previous experiments have established that the long-lived spermatozoa of hibernating bats are resistant to the acrosome reaction and fertilization in vitro using conventional techniques. We tested the hypothesis that the membranes of these spermatozoa are more resistant to perturbation than those of other mammals. We exposed them to non-specific bilayer destabilizing agents and abrupt changes in incubation temperature and tested their response by observing their status (motility and viability) after a time interval compared with other mammals (golden hamster, rabbit, human). The results did not support the hypothesis. The inherent longevity of bat spermatozoa may thus be a function of some component other than unique resilience of their plasma membrane.