Viability assessment of spermatozoa in large falcons (Falco spp.) using various staining protocols
Viability assessment is an important part of semen analysis, and various live/dead staining protocols have been used in semen of avian species. Results of live/dead count differed between dyes, staining protocols and bird species, impeding comparability between studies and requiring species-specific comparisons of viability stains. In raptor semen, similar comparisons are absent. Thus, the aim of the present study was to compare eight conventional viability stains. Eosin blue 2% [EB], eosin blue 2% with the addition of 3% sodium citrate [EB2], eosin blue-nigrosin 5% [EBN5], eosin yellow-nigrosin 5% [EYN5], eosin yellow-nigrosin 10% [EYN10], eosin blue-aniline blue [EBA], eosin yellow-aniline blue [EYA] and bromophenol blue-nigrosin [BBN] were evaluated in comparison with the fluorescence stain SYBR<sup>®</sup> Green-propidium iodide [SYBR-PI] in spermatozoa of falcons. The comparison was performed using conventional light microscopy which is applicable in breeding centres, veterinary practices and field studies. Additionally, live/dead stains were correlated to motility values of the same samples to validate sperm viability. Light microscopy using EB and using SYBR-PI enabled an effective and clear differentiation between alive and dead spermatozoa of falcons. Motility values correlated significantly and strongly with EB only (r = .629; p < .001), but not with any other stain used in the study. Therefore, our results suggest EB as the most suitable stain for viability assessment in the semen of large falcons.