M. Blanes-García, P. Risueño, L. Pérez, J.F. Asturiano, V. Gallego
The sensitive state of conservation of several endemic fish species such as Iberian toothcarp (Aphanius iberus) and Valencia toothcarp (Valencia hispanica) has led governments to consider the implementation of conservation measures to preserve their populations. However, limited knowledge about the reproductive biology of these species makes it necessary to investigate different aspects of their reproductive cycle. In this sense, the main objectives of this work were i) to advance knowledge of the breeding biology of both species, and ii) to develop protocols for the conservation of gametes for the future management and 35 conservation.
During the spring of 2019 a temporal series of samplings were carried out in different places in the Comunitat Valenciana. Sperm samples were collected and sperm motion parameters were assessed for the first time in both species. Kinetic patterns were similar showing high motility and velocity values during the first 30 s, and a rapid decrease from that point. At the same time, an in-depth morphometric analysis was carried out using computer-assisted sperm analysis software. Spermatozoa from A. iberus and V. hispanica showed similar sizes and shapes to other external fertilizers belonging to Cyprinodontiformes, with small spherical heads, uniflagellated and without acrosomes.
In addition, a new cryopreservation protocol was designed for cryobanking the sperm of these threatened species. Cryopreserved samples showed lower motility than fresh samples but reaching acceptable percentages of motile cells after thawing of around 20 and 25% (A. iberus and V. hispanica, respectively).
This study is the first of its kind to successfully achieve gamete cryopreservation of these two endemic and endangered species from the Iberian Peninsula, providing new and useful tools to complement the management and conservation programs that are being developed for both species.
Aquaculture, 530, 735819 (2021)doi: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2020.735819