Mon, Sep 26, 2011 - Page 14 News List

Some squids do it in the dark, male-on-male
公烏賊暗中亂來 公母不分


The sex life of Octopoteuthis deletron — O. deletron, if you prefer — is a cruelly hit-or-miss affair, according to candid footage of the deep-sea squid in its element, unveiled last Wednesday.

No foreplay, no tender caresses, no fond farewells until the next union, just a desperate drive to reproduce followed by a glancing quickie and an early death.

Scientists suspect that some specimens can drift a lifetime without ever encountering a potential sex partner, much less a soul mate.

In the open sea at 800m it can make the search for companionship long and lonely, a team of researchers note in a study, published in the journal Biology Letters.

And even when these solitary, bug-eyed cephalopods do run into each other, they probably cannot tell a he-squid from a she-squid, prompting males to proposition the first shapely body that comes along, no matter what its sex.

That, in any case, is what Hendrik Hoving of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California and colleagues suspected when they set out to film the creatures in their natural setting.

O. deletron’s reproductive cycle was already known. During opposite-sex mating, males use a long tentacle-like appendage — a penis of sorts — to deposit small sperm-laden sacs, called spermatangia, onto females.

The sacs release sperm into the female’s tissue, and the cycle begins anew, leaving the males to die shortly after a single reproductive act.

But Hoving had noticed empty spermatangia on the surface of dead males caught in fishing nets, and wondered how they got there.

To find out, he used remotely operated vehicles to explore the deep waters off the central California coast.


1. desperate adj.

極度渴望的 (ji2 du4 ke3 wan4 de5)

例: Many governments are growing increasingly desperate to solve their debt crises.


2. shapely adj.

勻稱的 (yun2 cheng4 de5)

例: He has a shapely body, doesn’t he?


3. indiscriminately adv.


(bu4 fen1qing1 hong2 zao4 bai2 de5)

例: He indiscriminately eats anything you put in front of him. No wonder he’s so overweight.


The video footage captured 108 individuals, but scientists could only identify the sex of 39 squid, 19 females and 20 males, according to the study.

None were caught in flagrante delicto, but the riddle was solved: 19 of them — nine boy squids and 10 girl squids — had clusters of spermatangia attached to their bodies.

“Males were as likely to be found mated as females,” the study concluded. The sperm-carrying sex, in other words, “routinely and indiscriminately mates with both males and females.”


八腕深海烏賊上週三在其自然環境被偷拍到的畫面公諸於世後,才知道深海烏賊的性生活是極度隨意的。該種烏賊可簡稱為O. deletron。














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