Chin Sacks of Back Up Sperm: Weird Squid Sex

10/18/2012 11:08 AM |


One thing that squid don’t skimp on is sperm. Perhaps you remember the horrific story of the lady who got mouth pregnant with squids from eating squid? Classic squid move. When they reproduce, they gather in big, churning squid piles, swimming around and around each other, looking at the different options, mate-wise. Sometimes, two squids who likes each others’ coloration will slip away and pre-mate. This is a face-to-face maneuver where the male takes his penis tentacle and sticks it into the female’s chin sperm sac. This, obviously, is a sack below her mouth where she can store back-up sperm for months. Months! Just a little extra sperm, in case she needs it later.

Back in the squid makeout melee, the biggest squids grab the females from the bottom and deposit their sperm in a different spot, underneath her mantle, near her “egg chamber”. That way, when she unsheathes her “string of 200 jellylike eggs”, that sperm gets the first crack at it. As she’s putting the eggs in a safe place, other, smaller guys dart out and spray their sperm at them, too. Then if she feels like there’s not enough sperm floating around, she can release some of her mouth sperm, as well. It is a real sperm party. Just a roiling cloud of sperm and squid.

The eggs are hidden around the seafloor, ready to hatch in a few weeks and eject sperm of their own. Sperm! That is the takeaway. Squid are just covered in sperm, basically all the time. Calamari, yum.

Discover Magazine, Squid Sex, Squid Reproduction