Peregrine Falcon Semen: A Quantitative And Qualitative


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PEREGRINE FALCON SEMEN: A QUANTITATIVE
EXAMINATION

AND QUALITATIVE

JOHNHOOLIHANANDWILLIAMBURNHAM
ABSTRACT-- Collectionfrequenciesand certaincharacteristicosf PeregrineFalcon(Falcoperegrinuss)emenwere investigatedusing semen from a falcon trained to copulate on a speciallydesigned hat. Semen volume increased significantlywhencollectionswereincreasedfrom two to three times/dayb, ut cells/ejaculatdeecreasedN. o significant differencein numbercells/ejaculatoer cells/microliterwasdetectedbetweenmorningand eveningsampleswith two collections/dayT.hree collections/daryesultedin decreasingtotalcellnumbers/collectionasnd numbers/microlitewr ith the mostcellscollectedduring the initialmorningcollection.Semenshoweda highmotility,withestimated80 - 100%of spermcellsalive.

The PeregrineFalcon(Falcoperegrinus)continuesMATERIALS AND METHODS

to be a focal point of captivepropagationefforts We wished to know if daily semen volume could be

(Cade and Dague 1981). An important technique usedin captivepropagationis artificial insemination, sincemany captive falcoffsdo not copulate (Boyd 1978).The techniqueof artificialinsemina-

increasedsignificantlyby collectingsemen3 times/dvs2 times/d.Two periodswere designatednear the midpoint of the semenproductioncycle(Table 1). Period I comprised9 d when semenwascollected2 times/d, between 0800 H and 1015 H, and between 1715 H and 1745 H. A

tion hasbeendescribedby Boydet al. (1977), but little attention hasbeen directedtoward quantitativeor qualitativeexaminationof falconsemen.We report here the affect of increasingfrequencyof semencollectionupon semen volume and upon

third collectionwasaccomplishedbetween 1300 H and 1345 H in PeriodII. Three daysseparatedthe two 9-day collection periods.
All semenin thisstudywascollectedfrom a 10-year-old peregrine. The falcon was behaviorally imprinted to humansand copulatedon a speciallyconstructedhat

certaincharacteristicsof peregrinesemen,includ- (Cade and Dague 1981). The falcon was handled and

ing concentrationof sperm cells,total cells/ejacu- raisedas describedby Boyd and Schwartz(1981). The

late,motility and percentof viablespermcells.

falconwasgiventhe opportunityto copulateon the hat onlyduring the periodwhensemenwasneededfor artifi-

Table 1. Means(rangesin parentheseso)f semenvolumeandspermcountsof a 10-year-olPderegrineFalcon.

TIME

Period I

0800-1015

H

1715-1745H

Period II 0800-1015H 1300-1345H 1715-1745H

VOL/DAY 150(116-185)
(n=9)
192 (175 - 208) (n:11)

CELLS//.Xtl l 03
52.86 (38.12 - 81.12) (n =8)
59.06 (45.62 - 81.12) (n =4)
46.66 (38.12 - 55.88) (n =4)
37.12 (26.25- 60.62) (n=15)
47.54 (40.00 - 60.62) (n =3)
36.47 (30.38 - 39.88) (n =7)
31.78 (26.25 - 37.38) (n =5)

CELLS/EJACULAXT1E0•
4.46 (2.55 - 5.84) (n =8)
4.97 (3.51 - 5.84) (n =4)
3.95 (2.55 - 4.97) (n =4)
2.46 (1.27- 3.88) (n:15)
3.32 (2.76 - 3.88) (n =3)
2.61 (1.77- 3.23) (n=7)
1.72 (1.27- 1.90) (n =5)

125

RaPTORRESEARCt1q9 (4):125-127

126
40-35--

HOOLIHAN AND BURNHAM

38

38

30--

25-24
-7:-:.:-:-:,:-

28 23

20--

:...: • .:.:.
i!i!-i•i:i:!

15-- :i:•!::!:::

15

:.:.: z :.:.:

10-- :::::o
':.::.'::'•• ' ':.::-'::'

17 8

5•

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

0

11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100

Volume [#l]/Ejaculate

Figure1. Semenproductioonf a 10-year-olPderegTh•Fealcon.

VOL. 19, NO. 4

cial insemination. The semen was retrieved from the hat RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

by useof bloodcapillarytubes.The capillarytubeswere

initially calibrated for volume by using a micropipette. Eachmillimeter(mm)of tubelengthrepresented1microliter (txl) of semen. Volu. me was therefore easilycalculatedby measuringthe lengthof semenin the tubewith a
metric rule.

The 10-year-olmd aleperegrinecommencecdopulation on 5 March and continuedon a daily basis through1Junewhentheopportunittyocopulatwe as nolongermadeavailablteo him,thusrepresentinag

Concentrationof spermatazoaper samplewascalculatedbythe useof a phasecontrasthemocytometerS. eparate meanswere calculatedfor the morning and evening collectionssince the collectionswere not evenly spaced over each 24 hr period.

semenproductionperiodof 95 d. Semenproduced per copulationrangedfrom 0 (copulationb,ut no ejaculationto) 93 ml.Figure1comparetshevolume produced/ejaculwatiethfrequencoyf ejaculatiofnor

Standardpoultry sciencemethodsfor determiningthe periodsof both2 and3 collectionsS/de.menvolume

percent of viable sperm were inadequate for peregrine semen quantification. Use of a live-dead stain was not helpful in determining fertilizationcapacity.The nigrosin, eosin blue stain (Ernst 1970) which is intended to darkenonlydeadcells,permeatedbothliveanddeadcells

rosesignificant(ly28%,P < 0.001,Mann-Whitney U-test)whencollectionws ereincreasedfrom 2 to 3
times/db,utcells/ejaculadteecreasesdignificant(lPy< 0.01)whencollectiofnrequencwy asincrease(dTable

of the falconsemen.This techniqueneedsto be perfected
for falcons.
Motility scoreof the semenwasjudged qualitatively. Sampleswere taken immediatelyto the laboratoryonce collectedandmixedthoroughlyin smallvialspre-warmed to 37øC. Semensampleswerethen placedon pre-warmed

1).
DuringPeriodI, nosignificandtifferenc(eP= 0.20) in number of cells//xl or cells/ejaculate betweenmorningor eveningsampleswasobserved (Table1).In contrastin, PeriodII a significandtiffer-

slideswhichwerekeptat 37øC in a microscop.setage ence(P • 0.025)existedin numberof cells//xalnd

sinccoupbeaM.toortailnitdywviaeswjueddgtherdoquugahliataptihvaeslbyeyctohnetrparsot gmriecsros-ivecells/ejaculbateetweenthe3collectiotnimesT. hemean

motionand speedof the spermcells,aswell asthe esti- numberofcells//xfol rthemorningcollectioonf Period

matedpercentof movingcells.

II of 47.54x 10ashowsa decreaseof 19%compared

WINTER 1985

PEREGRINE FALCON SEMEN

127

withthesametimein PeriodI (Table1).The midday locatednearFortCollinsC, oloradoF.inanciasluppc)wrtasprovidedby andeveningcollectionfsor PeriodII had meanvalues The PeregrineFund,Inc.(T.J.Gade,PresidentT).echnicaal dvicewas of :36.47x 10aand:31.78x 10acells/txrel,spectivetlhye, sLuabpoprliaetbdoryyRD. ..AKmonekne,GlW, o.loHreaindrSoictahatenUdnGiv.SerasnidtAyfonritmraainlReedpthroe•dmuecntion lattershowinga decreasfeor the eveningcollectiondonorand performedmostcollectionJs.. Endersonand T. Gadere-

timesT. otalspermcells/ejacula(itnethemorningcol- viewedthemanuscripatndprovidedstatisticaaslsistance.

lectionosf PeriodI) averaged4.97x 106(Table1),and LITERATURE CITED

eveningcollectionasveraged3.95x 106cells/e•jaculate.

Together,thesefiguresrepresenat dailytotalaverage of 4.46x 106spermatazodejacuflaotrePeriodI. In contrast,hemeanforthemorningm, iddayandeveningcollectionosf PeriodII were 3.:32x 106,2.61 x 106 and1.72x 106r,espective(lTyable1).Weinitiallypre-
sumed that Period II would show a decrease in
spermatazodejacualantdeanoveraldl ailytotalgreater

BOYD,L.L., N.S. BOYDANDF.C. DOBLER1.977. Reproduction of prairie falconsby artificial inseminadon. J. Wildl.M•. 41(2):266-271.
BOYD, L.L. 1978. Artificial insemination of falcons.
Symp.Zool. Soc.London, No. 43, 73-80. BOYD, L.L. AND C.H. SCHWARTZ.1981. Training im-
printed semen donors. N. Am. FalconersA' ssocJ. .
20:65-69.

thanPeriodI. Howeverf,ewertotalcellswerepro- GADE,T.J. ANDP.R. DAGUEE. DS. 1978. The Peregrine

duced in Period II.

Fund Newsletter, No. 6, 12 pp.

Thesemencollectesdhowedahighmotilityvaluefor __,

EDS. 1981. The Peregrine Fund Newsletter,

morethan92%of thesample(sn = 41)analyzewd ith No. 9, 16 pp. an estimated80 - 100%of the spermcellsaliveand ERNST, R.A. AND F.X. OGASAWARA.1970. A live-dead movingina progressivmeotionT. he speedwithwhich stainto testpoultrysemenquality.Univ. of Galif.Exthespermcellsmoveisdifficultoevaluatwe ithrespect tension Service Bulletin OSA, No. 193.

totheirapparenftitnessIt. shouldbepossiblteocorrect The University of Texas SystemCancerCenter, SciencePark, thisproblemthroughtheexaminatioonfsamplefsrom Research Division, P.O. Box 389, Smithville, TX 78957.

othercaptivaendwildfalconsIn. thiswayc, omparisons couldbe madeandthenormalspeedcouldbeascertainedS. emenfromtheperegrinteestedfertilizedeggs

Address of Second author: The Peregrine Fund, World Center for Birds of Prey, 5666 West Flying Hawk Lane, Boise, ID 83709.

ata levelequaltootherdonorsof varyingages.

First Received1 April 1982; Accepted22 April 1985

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Tiffsre.archwasconducteadtThePeregTinFeund'sWesternFacility

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Peregrine Falcon Semen: A Quantitative And Qualitative