Do Sperm Have Brains?

After coming across a video the other day of these tiny little microscopic critters swimming around, it made me wonder if sperm had brains. Now, I’ve never heard of them having brains but since they kinda look like tadpoles and swim like tadpoles, which do have brains, I thought maybe… just maybe … they might.

Don’t be stupid!

OK, so I was stupid for thinking that sperm had brains – Of course they don’t! Sperm tend to swim with a kind of auto-pilot instinct, similar to your body knowing when you need to poop I guess. It all happens naturally and automatically unless you’ve had a particularly spicy curry of course, in which case things might pop out unexpectedly.

How many are produced per day?

Anyway, enough about bowel habits, let’s talk more about sperm. Guys produce a lot of them; According to these white-coated boffins, a typical male can produce around 290 million of the little blighters per day – that’s a lot of tadpoles. In fact, men produce about 1500 sperm cells every second of the day and will produce an astonishing 500 billion in an average lifetime.

What do they have instead of brains?

Take a look at the pic below to see what a cross-section of a sperm looks like. It contains lots of medical terms, but you’ll get the gist of it. And no, the dark bits in the head section are not brains, stoopid…

Inside a sperm
By Mariana Ruiz Villarreal spermatozoa – I did the diagram myself based on the one found on the book “Gray’s anatomy” 36th edition, Williams & Warwick, 1980; and a diagram found of the review “Formation and organization of the mammalian sperm head” from Kiyotaka Toshimori and Chizuro Ito. (Chiba, Japan)., Public Domain, Link

So, if they don’t have brains, how do they manage to swim about like miniature sea life hunting for food? Well, of course, they’re not after food as they don’t have mouths either, they’re in search of that all-important female egg to penetrate, and as you probably know, the winner takes all with no time for the losers (who ultimately meet their demise and perish). In short, they don’t have anything instead of a brain – So how come they manage to figure out where the egg is in the first place? Well, it’s thought that sperm cells find the egg cell through a couple of mechanisms. Firstly, they instinctively swim toward higher concentrations of molecules released by the egg and secondly, they also head for the high-temperature areas of the woman’s reproductive area that contain the eggs.

How big are sperm cells and how fast can they swim?

Frikkin’ tiny; you can’t see them with the naked eye. According to the guys n gals at the Huff, sperm are around 0.05 millimeters in length, including their long tail. They go on to add that these nippy little cells can travel at about 0.2 metres per hour, or 0.00012 miles per hour (mph), which is pretty good considering how tiny they are.

Anatomy

Rather confusingly, one article claims that sperm consists of 3 main parts, whereas Wiki says 4 different parts. Anyway, if you don’t work in some kind of semen lab, who cares? Suffice it to say, they have a (mouthless and brainless) head, a middle bit that’s used for propulsion, and a long tail. Incidentally, they differ wildly in size between species; e.g. the sperm of some species of fruit fly (Drosophila) are up to 5.8 cm long — about 20 times as long as the fly itself!

Conclusion

Sperm may look and behave like they have brains when you see them swimming, but all scientific boffiny-type people who know about this kind of stuff would slap a wet fish around your face if you claimed that sperm had brains; so don’t.

11 thoughts on “Do Sperm Have Brains?”

  1. What I recall is a BBC documentary some while back, by which, well, the first thing that was levelled, was the very idea as if Sperm mutually fight to go and fertilize the female ovum, so that then the strongest and mightiest of Sperm wins, then gets admitted into the female ovum (well, so much for being a black belter myself).

    You may have to do your web search for a bit on ´Sperm War´, but it comes down to: the at all ´initiative´ for fertilization is with the female ovum, as comes out it carries an electromagnetic ´plus´ charge, let´s for sake of example keep this at a ´plus´ charge of 71. It transmits this electromagnetic charge, while then such Spermatozoon with let´s say a matching´minus´ electromagnetic charge of 71 just the same, goes something to the effect of ´hey, incoming message´, then this fellow ´pulled in´ so to say to reach the female ovum.

    Once Spermatozoon reaches the female ovum, it would with its ´minus´ electromagnetic charged head change the female ovum´s electromagnetic charge of initially ´plus´into ´minus´, so that, now that ´like poles repel´, all other Sperm die off.

    Well, this is to the best of my recollection anyway, and ´what an adventure!´

    Reply
    • Amazing I have never heard that theory. Makes sense though. I was taught it’s all chemical. The egg releases some kind of biological chemical which attracts and guides the sperm. When the egg is successfully fertilised, it changes and releases a chemical that repels or even kills other sperm. This is a simplified explanation but is the best I can recall from junior highschool 20+ years ago. Also the sperm also releases its own natural chemicals that will fight off or kill any seed from a competitor that happens to be in the same vicinity. Absolutely fascinating really.

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  2. Mine do….They’re always plotting to replace me with someone new………And if they didn’t how would they know how to make me feel good all the time. We are all just here to appease the alien neurons that reside in our brains. Obviously, the sperm brains a kept invisible to keep us from messing with them. Some things should be left alone…….

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  3. I am Brian and I have a brain. i dont know if sperm have brains but i can tell u that Brians have brains. I’m Brian and so’s my wife.

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    • Hi Dorf and thanks for the comment. I don’t really know how sperm find the egg without a brain but I imagine it’s similar to how my foot (which doesn’t have a brain) always manages to find dog poop when I’m out walking.

      Reply
    • What I was taught: The egg releases some kind of biological chemical which attracts and guides the sperm. When the egg is successfully fertilised, it changes and releases a chemical that repels or even kills other sperm

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