PROF. P. MOTTA / DEPT. OF ANATOMY / UNIVERSITY "LA SAPIENZA", ROME / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PROF. P. MOTTA / DEPT. OF ANATOMY / UNIVERSITY "LA SAPIENZA", ROME / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The death of sperm. Coloured scanning electron micrograph of two degenerated spermatozoa (yellow with bent tails) on the surface of the uterus; they are about to be destroyed by leucocytes (purple bottom). After ejaculation sperm may stay alive in the female reproductive tract for about 24 hours. At the beginning of their journey in the vagina the spermatozoa number about 300 million but only a few hundred survive and reach the Fallopian tubes. Leucocytes patrol the uterine mucosa (blue-green in the background) and remove dead or deformed sperm. Magnification: x1290 at 6x7cm size.
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