Lady squid dress in drag

The opalescent inshore squid (which, if you've eaten squid in the US, then you've probably eaten before) can change color just like octopuses can. In fact, scientists found that female squid can give themselves a white stripe that looks an awful lot like the testicles of their male counterparts. It's probably some kind of defensive measure, but the scientists are more interested in how the squid change color, not why. That's because the mechanism is unique, and fascinating.

A global society of squid

It's a small squid world, after all. A recent study shows that giant squid from all around the globe have remarkably low levels of genetic diversity — essentially, writes Tina Hesman Saey, they're all more closely related than scientists previously thought. Giant squid, as it turns out, are a single species, traveling, living, and breeding all around the planet.

The Kraken Awakes: What Architeuthis is Trying to Tell Us

Captured live on video in its deep-sea element, for the first time, the Kraken of tall tales and sea shanties—Architeuthis, the giant squid—is coming into sharp focus, a flesh-and-blood reality. But why now?

Read the rest

Release the kraken!

What do you need to catch a giant squid? At The Verge, Arikia Millikan goes behind-the-scenes on the recent, successful expedition to capture the kraken on video for the first time.

Attack of the miniature lego squid

Evan B.'s been a Lego hobbyist since 1998 and reports winning numerous contests for his incredible work. His flickr photostream is full of minifig marvels; you can buy his book, How to build Forklifts using Lego Bricks, for just a couple of bucks. [via Super Punch]

A group of squid is called a ...

For the record, squid come in shoals. Not quite as good as a squad. But still nicely alliterative.

Via Craig McClain

That tingling in your mouth could be a squid trying to mate with you

If you eat a male squid that has not been disemboweled first, you might end up with said squid's spermatophores—basically, sperm-filled packets—attempting to burrow into your soft gum tissue the way they burrow through the flesh of a lady squid. This apparently hurts. We know, because it has happened to more than one person and those cases have been documented in peer-reviewed research journals. (Via Hank Campbell)

Bisexual squid, lurking in the deep

For obvious reasons, there's not a lot of observational data concerning the behavior of deep-sea-dwelling squid. But a new study has found indirect evidence that one species of squid—the 5-inch long Octopoteuthis deletron—mates both bisexually, and promiscuously.

How do you get indirect evidence of sex? If you've ever watched CSI, you can guess. It's all about looking for sperm.

Or, in this case, spermatophores. Squid mate differently from humans. Instead of depositing sperm-filled semen directly into a female, heterosexual squid mating involves a sperm-filled biological container, of sorts. The male attaches this spermatophore to the female, and over time the sperm get absorbed into her skin. (Which is, frankly, weird. Even for spermatophore-based sex.) So, when researchers wanted to see how much sex the squid were having, they just started looking at video of squid and counting the attached spermatophores. From the BBC:

"Going through hours of video, we found that both males and females carry sperm packages. As the locations of sperm packages were similar in both sexes, we concluded that males mate with males and females."

The finding surprised the team, said Dr Hoving.

The researchers found equal numbers of female and male squid that had had sperm packages deposited on them, indicating that same-sex mating was as frequent as encounters between squid of the opposite sex.

The number of sperm packages that had been deposited also suggested that these animals were promiscuous, the researchers said.

How you interpret those findings gets a lot more speculative, though. Hoving and his team are chalking it up to the fact that the normally solitary squid don't encounter many potential mates, and, thus, mate with every other squid they see. Just in case. But there are probably other directions you could take the same data. We just don't know enough about these squid to say for sure.

Via Maggie Fitzgibbon

Image: Ventral view of O. deletron, holotype, 109 mm ML, showing photophore pattern. Drawing from Young (1972). Used through CC via Tree of Life Project.

A bowl of dancing squid in Hokkaido, Japan (video)

[Video Link]. How does this work? The YouTube comments point to the basic idea being that the sodium in the soy sauce causes the legs to move, even though the squid is dead, by some definition of death, anyway... From the YouTube description:

There's still some question as to whether or not it's officially "dead" at the time of serving. The brain is probably still in the body, but a significant part of its nervous system, the giant axon, I believe extends into the mantle, which has been cut. I'm not an expert on squids so I can't really come to a definite conclusion about that.

As you can see in the beginning, it's not moving at all when it's brought out so I assume that signals around the body have stopped, whereas a fresh intact squid out of water would constantly move around. This doesn't necessarily mean that it's "dead" but it seems to me that it's at least incapacitated.

Paging Boing Boing science editor Maggie Koerth-Baker to the comments, please!

Over at G+, Dustin Hoffman described it as "a culinary seizure."

(thanks, Miles O'Brien)