Sperm Atlas Index
Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) sperm. Credit: San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. All rights reserved.
The Sperm Atlas is a sperm morphology database created and maintained by the Reproductive Science team at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. It highlights a portion of the sperm cells collected from animals at the San Diego Zoo and other organizations.
This access portal is maintained by the San Diego Zoo Global Library. The combined file is available for download below. Individual species records may be viewed online and downloaded as PDFs.
Download Complete Atlas
View Individual Records
Click a link under Common Name A-Z or Scientific Name A-Z. The PDF will open on a separate page. To view names by taxonomic category, select one of the tabs above.
History of the Sperm Atlas
In February of 2009, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research's Reproductive Sciences team decided to create a database to display the diversity of sperm morphology in the animal kingdom. The task was given to ICR's first High Tech High intern, Michelle Doyle. Using our historical slide inventory, including sperm morphology slides dating back to 1980, Michelle created a database that one day would be available to the public. We call this database the Sperm Atlas.
Michael Figlioli, an intern from High Tech High North County, took over the project in 2010. Together they created a database that highlights a portion of the sperm cells collected by the Reproductive Sciences team over four decades. The cells come from animals at the San Diego Zoo and other organizations. Many are representative samples from sperm that is now frozen and stored in the San Diego Zoo’s Frozen Zoo©.
We continue to make additions to this atlas as more samples are processed. The measurements are often averages from many measurements taken from several specimens.
This student project came out of a realization that no other online, free access, animal sperm atlas existed thus far. The Reproductive Science team had a treasure they wanted to share with other researchers, teachers, students, and anyone excited by biology and the wonders of nature.