Spermatozoa of several mammalian species were studied by means of high-speed cinematography and electron microscopy. Three types of motile patterns were observed in mouse spermatozoa. The first type involved an asymmetrical beat which seemed to propel the sperm in circular paths. The second type involved rotation of the sperm and appeared to allow them to maintain straight paths. In the third type of pattern, the sperm appeared to move by crawling on surfaces in a snakelike manner. Spermatozoa of rabbit and Chinese hamster also had an asymmetrical beat which sometimes caused them to swim in circles. In spite of the asymmetry of the beat, these spermatozoa were also able to swim in straight paths by rotating around a central axis as they swam. Spermatozoa of some species appeared very flexible; their flagella formed arcs with a very small radius of curvature as they beat. Spermatozoa of other species appeared very stiff, and their flagella formed arcs with a very large radius of curvature. The stiffness of the spermatozoan appeared to correlate positively with the cross-sectional area of the dense fibers. This suggests that the dense fibers may be stiff elastic elements. Opossum sperm become paired as they pass through the epididymis. Pairs of opossum spermatozoa beat in a coordinated, alternating manner.

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