Fruit flies have enormous sperm. This is a well known fact in the scientific community—so well known, in fact, that there’s a name for it: the big sperm paradox. But the massive, spermy problem has long confounded scientists, who couldn’t figure out why such a tiny creature needed such humongous baby batter soldiers.…
Sperm usually swim in a 3D shimmy: a spiral wave travels down the whippy flagellum and rotates its head in a circle around its long axis. That “bulk swimming” is fine most of the time, but it isn’t a great option when a sperm cell gets close to a surface. That’s when they switch to “slither” mode.
Farming emus means breeding emus. And Irek Malecki of the University of Western Australia thinks that the results could be improved with a bit of artificial insemination. But it’s easier said than done, as detailed in this amusing video.
Get your weekend started right by watching how sperm sometimes form power-swimming blocks to get ahead. And learn why these particular sperm get together.
Biologists already knew that one set of neurons play a big role in triggering puberty. A new study shows that these neurons don’t stop working once puberty ends, but keep running through adulthood, serving as a sort of reproductive timer.
Lots of human cells are specialized, but I can’t think of any that are as stripped down to a single purpose as spermatozoa. Sperm have just one job, and they’ll die doing it.
The successful union of egg and sperm in fertilization depends on a sperm cell’s ability to get through an egg’s thick protective coating and latch itself to its membrane. A study published in the journal Andrology yesterday gives us our first look at the protein responsible for the tie-down.
A sperm’s journey from vagina to egg is only 15 centimeters long, but it’s a race with attrition.
Human testes are masters of mass production, spitting out sperm at a rate of 200 million per day. But that doesn’t mean the process is fast–it takes 64 days to make a sperm. The organ keeps the count high with an assembly-line anatomy that scales up sperm development from a trickle to a flood.
Southern dumpling squids (Euprymna tasmanica) are natives of shallow, sandy Australian sea beds, and their small, squat bodies and huge eyes combine to make them one of the most frickin-adorable animals on the planet. They spend their days hiding under the sand, but at night they’re tenacious lovers.
Breeding giant pandas in captivity is a challenge, and artificial insemination can make conception less of a crapshoot. But it’s easy for a few successful parents to overwhelm the breeding pool. Check out this infographic at the Washington Post that shows how geneticists pick the ideal partners for their pandas.
You know that characteristic funky seaweed smell? It isn’t a by-product of the plant’s metabolism or environment. It’s a scent manufactured by seaweed for one reason only; to lure the sperm of a mate.
It’s a bright day in 1677, in the city of Delft, and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is making love to his wife. But moments after he shudders with orgasm, he hurries out of bed to grab his microscope. After all, he’s not just spending time with his wife: he’s running an important scientific experiment at the request of the…
Every spring, male red-sided garter snakes enter the mother of all meat-markets. While mature males can breed every year, females are only fertile once every three years, which puts them in very short supply. The result? Snake orgy, obviously. But for male snakes, this sexual free-for-all comes at a surprisingly high…
Danish sperm may be the lowest quality sperm in the world. At least, that's one data point you could pull from a study of how alcohol consumption affects sperm counts. The researchers — Danish, of course — call the results "troubling."
A few years ago, researchers made a strange discovery. Sperm seemed to gravitate toward the scent of flowers called lily of the valley. Could this open up a whole new era of scent-based conception and disreputable flower shops?
Human sperm can swim pretty fast, most of the time, but they've got nothing on the sperm of deer mice. What is the deer mouse's secret? Recently, a Harvard professor created a mathematical model of sperm behaviors to figure it out.
There is a sperm drought looming over the UK, and they're facing some issues keeping up with the demand. It is believed that donor numbers have dropped since 2005, when donors no longer had the right to anonymity (children who were conceived by way of a donor can now legally ask for the identity of their donor at age…
The weird little tail-whip motion that sperm use to get to their Holy Grail has been co-opted by scientists for use in miniature robots.
British scientists have finally figured out how sperm is able to connect with an egg. The process is facilitated by a molecule dubbed Juno, a protein that allows sperm to dock to the surface of an egg. The discovery could introduce new fertility treatments and birth control.