• Burness, Gary
  • Moyes, Christopher D.
  • Montgomerie, Robert D.


Male bluegill displays one of two life history tactics. Some males (termed “parentals”) delay reproduction until ca. 7 years of age, at which time they build nests and actively courts females. Others mature precociously (sneakers) and obtain fertilizations by cuckolding parental males. In the current study, we studied the relations among sperm motility, ATP levels, and metabolic enzyme activity in parental and sneaker bluegill. In both reproductive tactics, sperm swimming speed and ATP levels declined in parallel over the first 60 s of motility. Although sneaker sperm initially had higher ATP levels than parental sperm, by ∼30 s postactivation, no differences existed between tactics. No differences were noted between tactics in swimming speed, percent motility, or the activities of key metabolic enzymes, although sperm from parentals had a higher ratio of creatine phosphokinase (CPK) to citrate synthase (CS). In both tactics, with increasing CPK and CS activity, sperm ATP levels increased at 20 s postactivation, suggesting that capacities for phosphocreatine hydrolysis and aerobic metabolism may influence interindividual variation in rates of ATP depletion. Nonetheless, there was no relation between sperm ATP levels and either swimming speed or percent of sperm that were motile. This suggests that interindividual variation in ATP levels may not be the primary determinant of variation in sperm swimming performance in bluegill.


Dip nets used to collect fish and milt collected