The American Museum of Natural History sorted it out. Read the rest
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. Read the rest
[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."