Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


I'll make this short, and simple, unlike the squid below does (don't worry, that will make sense in a minute). This is a mature male Onykia ingens, a deep-sea squid. This specimen was caught in deep-water by a research team on the Patagonian slope, and I'm estimating is around 7 - 8 meters in length from tip of the tentacle to tip of the fin. This isn't a new species, but researchers did learn something pretty spectacular about it recently. (Slightly graphic image after the jump.)

Photo by V. Laptikhovsky, from BBC Earth News.

While dissecting the mantle of the squid to assess maturity of the animal, the team got a bit of a surprise: some hot squid action. The squid's penis became erect and ejaculated spermatophores on the table. But this is a good thing (although it probably wasn't a lot of fun for the squid to be vivisected in the first place), because until now, there was a lot of question as to how deep-sea squid mated. Many shallow water species of cephalopod used modified arms to transfer spermatophore packets from their mantle to the female, but there was no evidence of such behavior/anatomy in deep-sea species. Well, know we know at least one variety forgoes the modified arm technique, and goes for the gusto with a strong, elongate, 67 cm penis. Good for you Onykia.

Male O. ingens, dissected, with erection. Photo by A. Arkhipkin, from BBC Earth News.

No comments:

Post a Comment