The study evaluated the relationships between sperm morphology and semen cation concentrations in Red Sokoto bucks. A total of 31 Red Sokoto bucks were used for the study. Semen samples were collected from each animal on weekly basis for 52 weeks using an electro-ejaculator. Sperm morphological traits: detached mid-piece and tail (DMT), detached head (DH), mid-piece droplet (MPD), coiled and bent tail (CBT), and acrosomal abnormality (ACR) as well as semen cation parameters: sodium ion (Na+), potassium ion (K+) and calcium ion (Ca2+) were respectively determined. Correlation analysis procedure (Pearson correlation) of SAS was used to assess the relationship between the measured characteristics. The results showed that correlations among the sperm morphological characteristics were generally low and not significant except the correlation between DH and DMT which was perfect (P < 0.01; r = 1.0). Semen cations correlated positively but non-significantly among themselves except the correlation between Na+ and K+ (P < 0.05; r = 0.3) which was significant. Relationship between semen cations and sperm morphological traits were generally negative and significant (P < 0.05; r = -0.28 to -0.40) except ACR which was positively and significantly correlated with Ca2+ (P < 0.01; r = 0.37). The study revealed that DH is highly associated with the DMT, while Na+ concentration was an indicator of K+ level in the semen, as positive and significant relationtions were observed between each pair. The negative and significant relationship between sperm morphological traits and semen cations, as observed in the present study suggest that the level of morphological defects of spermatozoa can be determined based on information on semen cations of the bucks.
Key words: Red Sokoto goats, sperm morphology, semen cations.
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