Background: Since few decades, the world is facing important losses in the number of honeybees, with great threat to the agro-zootechnic economics and to the global biodiversity. It is well known that stressors can affect the female and male reproductive system, impairing queens’ and drones’ fertility. To date, still very little is known about drones’ physiological characteristics and possible alterations of the reproductive activity. This study focused on describing the morphological features and morphometric parameters of the Italian honeybee (Apis mellifera ligustica) spermatozoa in order to define its standard characteristics.
Findings: The following morphometric values (mean ± standard deviation) were measured: sperm total length (230,81±17,22 μm), tail length (222,96±17,15μm), head length (7,85±0,65μm), nucleus length (4,44±0,61μm) and perforator length (3,58±1,21μm). Moreover, 7% of the spermatozoa exhibited alterations such as broken and double tails.
Conclusions: The results obtained, allow a preliminary definition of measures of A. mellifera ligustica spermatozoa using an easy and economical protocol that could help to study the morphology and the morphometry of drone spermatozoa and to point out possible alterations.
Keywords: Apis mellifera, drone, spermatozoa, standard measurements