Tag Archives: squid

Fossil Friday: ancient squid caught in stone while munching on a fish

We’ve talked yesterday about how behavior doesn’t fossilize, and that is true — most of the time. Some extremely rare finds, such as this fossil discovered in the 19th century, can be the exception to that rule.

Despite its age, the fossil wasn’t analyzed properly until now.

A close-up image of the fossilized fish with the squid arms around it.
Image credits Malcolm Hart / Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association.

It was discovered in Jurrasic-aged rocks off the coast of England and captured the oldest known case of a squid-like creature attacking prey. The event took place almost 200 million years old and the fossil is currently housed within the collections of the British Geological Survey in Nottingham.

Fish for dinner

“Since the 19th century, the Blue Lias and Charmouth Mudstone formations of the Dorset coast have provided large numbers of important body fossils that inform our knowledge of coleoid paleontology,” says Professor Malcolm Hart, Emeritus Professor in Plymouth and the lead author of a study analyzing the fossil.

This, however, is a most unusual if not extraordinary fossil as predation events are only very occasionally found in the geological record. It points to a particularly violent attack which ultimately appears to have caused the death, and subsequent preservation, of both animals.”

The team identified the attacker as a Clarkeiteuthis montefiorei with its prey belonging to the herring-like species Dorsetichthys bechei.

The particular position of the attacker’s arms suggests that what we’re seeing is an actual predatory event, and not a quirk of fossilization, according to the team. They believe this specimen hails from the Sinemurian period, between 190 and 199 million years ago, which would make it the oldest fossil of its kind by about 10 million years.

The attack doesn’t seem to have been a pleasurable experience for the fish at all: the team explains that the bones in its head were apparently crushed by the squid.

The complete specimen (squid on the left, fish on the right).
Image credits Malcolm Hart / Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association

The authors believed that the attacker, too, bit off more than it could chew. The fish was likely too large for it to successfully bring down, or got stuck in its jaws. The unfortunate pair eventually killed each other by the looks of it, and found their way to the bottom of the ocean where they fossilized.

Another possible explanation is that the Clarkeiteuthis brought its prey down below in a display of ‘distraction sinking’, behavior meant to discourage other predators from attacking, or possibly just to hide from them. It’s possible that the squid swam into a body of low-oxygen water, where it suffocated.

The findings have been presented at the virtual event EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online this week in the “Life and Death in the Jurassic Seas of Dorset, Southern England” session. They will also be published in the journal Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association.

First MRI mapping of a squid’s brain reveals surprising complexity

New research at The University of Queensland (UQ) is peering into the neurology of squids, creating the first MRI model of their brains.

Arguably one of the best pictures you’ll see all day.
Image credits Wen-Sung Chung, Nyoman D. Kurniawan, N. Justin Marshall, (2020), iScience.

The research can help us understand how the squid’s abilities — their incredible camouflage for example — are handled by their central nervous system.

Brainy beasts

“Some cephalopods have more than 500 million neurons, compared to 200 million for a rat and 20,000 for a normal mollusc,” says Dr Wen-Sung Chung from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, first author of the study.

“This the first time modern technology has been used to explore the brain of this amazing animal.”

Cephalopods — a group whose name means “head foot” and includes cuttlefish, squid, and octopi — are intelligent animals with complex brains. We’ve been studying their brains for almost 50 years now, trying to map out all their neural connections, in order to understand how they work.

And work they do: cephalopods exhibit several complex behaviors, with their active camouflage being arguably the most famous. It’s even more impressive when you consider that cephalopods themselves are colorblind. They can also solve problems, count, recognize patterns, and communicate through various signaling processes.

The squid’s (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) multi-lobed brain.
Image credits Wen-Sung Chung, Nyoman D. Kurniawan, N. Justin Marshall, (2020), iScience.

We do know that cephalopod brains have evolved to have different subdivisions, and we do have a rough understanding of how they connect together. The team’s work focuses on understanding why this division emerged. They worked with the reef squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana, using techniques such as MRI to study and map the architecture of their brains. They report finding 145 new potential connections and pathways, more than 60% of which are linked to the squid’s vision and motor systems.

“We can see that a lot of neural circuits are dedicated to camouflage and visual communication. Giving the squid a unique ability to evade predators, hunt, and conspecific communicate with dynamic colour changes,” Dr Chung explains.

Dr Chung says that the present findings support a convergent evolution — the independent evolution of similar traits — between the nervous systems of cephalopods and that of vertebrates. These similarities, he adds, should allow us to make informed predictions about how the squid’s brain structure translates on the behavioral level. For example, the team considered that several of the new networks they found deal with locomotion and countershading camouflage (both abilities that rely on sight) based on their similarities to vertebrate brain networks.

“Our findings will hopefully provide evidence to help us understand why these fascinating creatures display such diverse behaviour and very different interactions,” the authors conclude.

The paper “Toward an MRI-Based Mesoscale Connectome of the Squid Brain” has been published in the journal iScience.

The rotary actuated dodeahedron (RAD) sampler has five origami-inspired “petals", which fold up to capture a soft-bodied marine organism, such as a jellyfish. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

Scientists design ‘Pokéball’ that safely captures even the most delicate underwater creatures

The rotary actuated dodeahedron (RAD) sampler has five origami-inspired “petals", which fold up to capture a soft-bodied marine organism, such as a jellyfish. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

The rotary actuated dodeahedron (RAD) sampler has five origami-inspired “petals”, which fold up to capture a soft-bodied marine organism, such as a jellyfish. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

You better look out, Squirtle! Researchers at Harvard University and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study recently demonstrated an origami-inspired polyhedral enclosure that can capture and release delicate sea creatures, such as jellyfish or squidsf, without causing any harm.

Gotta catch em all! 

In order to study marine creatures, researchers often have to rely on bulky underwater equipment that isn’t suited for the capture of soft-bodied creatures, which all too frequently get hurt or even killed.

“We approach these animals as if they are works of art: would we cut pieces out of the Mona Lisa to study it? No – we’d use the most innovative tools available. These deep-sea organisms, some being thousands of years old, deserve to be treated with a similar gentleness when we’re interacting with them,” said collaborating author David Gruber, who is a Radcliffe Fellow and Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Baruch College, CUNY.

The idea for a pokéball-like robotic device was seeded by first author Zhi Ern Teoh, who during his stint at the Harvard Graduate School of Design was studying folding mechanisms through computational means. Brennan Phillips, who used to work in the same lab at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, saw some of Teoh’s designs that involved folding a flat surface into a 3D shape using motors, and suggested that these could be adapted to capturing sea creatures.

Teoh got to work and designed five identical 3D-printed polymer petals, which are attached to a series of rotating joints that form a scaffold when linked together. A single motor is used to apply torque to the point where the five petals meet, causing the entire structure to fold up into a hollow dodecahedron — a twelve-sided, almost-round box.

The folding is entirely directed by the origami-inspired design of the joints and the shape of the petals, requiring no additional energy input.

First author Zhi Ern Teoh tests the RAD sampler, mounted on the ROV Ventana. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

First author Zhi Ern Teoh tests the RAD sampler, mounted on the ROV Ventana. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

In order to test their device, called the Rotary Actuated Dodecahedron (RAD), the researchers traveled to Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT. There, the team proved that RAD was able to collect and release moon jellyfish underwater. The next step was testing RAD in-field; the device was mounted on an underwater remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), which dived to depths of 500-700 m (1,600-2,300 ft.). Using a joystick, a human controlled ROV’s manipulator arm to operate the sampler and capture squid and jellyfish in their natural habitats. During both capture and release, no creature was harmed.

“The RAD sampler design is perfect for the difficult environment of the deep ocean because its controls are very simple, so there are fewer elements that can break. It’s also modular, so if something does break, we can simply replace that part and send the sampler back down into the water,” said Teoh in a statement. “This folding design is also well-suited to be used in space, which is similar to the deep ocean in that it’s a low-gravity, inhospitable environment that makes operating any device challenging.”

Teoh and colleagues now plan to design a more rugged version that is more suited to heavy-duty applications, such as marine geology.

The researchers, however, envision a far wilder version of RAD, one equipped with all sorts of sensors, but also a DNA sequencer, such that data can be collected about the size, properties, and genome of a captured soft-bodied animal — before the animal is safely released. It’s “almost like an underwater alien abduction,” commented Gruber.

The findings were reported in the journal Science Robotics. 

Dr Kat Bolstad, who led the dissection, showing the colossal squid's tentacles.

Dissecting the colossal squid – this is only the second specimen ever found

It's not called colossal for nothing. Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

It’s not called colossal for nothing. Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Smaller, yet heavier then their legendary brethren, the giant squid, the colossal squid is an elusive animal that lives deep in the Antarctic waters. Scientists have known of their existence since the 1920s, judging from scraps  found inside whales and sucker imprints on whale skin. It wasn’t until 2007 that the first complete specimen was found, and the same ship that made the discovery pulled out another one only recently, as previously reported on ZME Science.

The newly found specimen is a 770 lbs (350 kg) female that measures nearly 11.5 feet ( 3.5 m) in length. The fishermen were of course looking for something else, but when you’re pulling things out of the murky waters at depths of 1800m, you better be prepared for some crazy stuff. The crew donated the colossal squid to the Museaum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, where it remained on ice until it was ready for dissection. The operation was broadcasted live via webcast. 

Dr Kat Bolstad, who led the dissection, showing the colossal squid's tentacles.

Dr Kat Bolstad, who led the dissection, showing the colossal squid’s tentacles.

This huge blob of jelly is the squid's eye. Measuring 35 cm across, it's the largest in the animal kingdom. Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

This huge blob of jelly is the squid’s eye. Measuring 35 cm across, it’s the largest in the animal kingdom. Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

The eye will be preserved and re-inserted in the squid for exhibits. Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

The eye will be preserved and re-inserted in the squid for exhibits. Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Pulling out the beak was hard work. Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Pulling out the beak was hard work. Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


Photo: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

(C) Youtube screenshot

Squids-protein modified bacteria used to develop camouflage coating

(C) Youtube screenshot

(C) Youtube screenshot

Loliginidae, also known as pencil squids, are formidable animals that can change their colour matching their surroundings really fast and effortlessly. For centuries the only thing man has learned from them is how tasty they are. Now, researchers at University of California, Irvine, found there’s much more to them then a simple calamari dish. The scientists used the protein that offers the squids’ ability to hide from both enemy and pray to adapt their own bio-coating  that mimic’s the squid’s skin.

The squid can change its color within a fraction of a second through a a structural protein called reflectin, which basically works by dynamically changing the squid’s skin light reflection. The team of researchers at UCI developed a method to produce reflectin, which they then introduced in a common bacteria population. The modified bacterial population were then used to make thin, optically active films that mimic the skin of a squid.

The real kicker and innovation of this work is that the resulting camouflage material not only keeps things hidden from sight, but also from infra-red readings – the de facto standard in military identification.

“The novelty of this coating lies in its functionality within the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, roughly 700 to 1,200 nanometers, which matches the standard imaging range of most infrared visualization equipment,” said research leader Alon Gorodetsky . “This region is not usually accessible to biologically derived reflective materials.”

With the appropriate chemical stimuli, the films’ coloration and reflectance can shift back and forth, giving them a dynamic configurability that allows the films to disappear and reappear when visualized with an infrared camera. Using such a biofilm, one could potentially coat just about any surface,  potentially allowing many simple objects to acquire camouflage capabilities.

“We’re trying to develop something that you could essentially use as reconfigurable infrared reflective paint so that you’d be able to disguise yourself,” research leader Alon Gorodetsky said, according to a report from Chemistry World. “There’s really not much out there in terms of inexpensive, biodegradable non-toxic materials that can be changed on the fly.”

What about shape-shifting suits? That’s a real possibility, according to the researchers. If you ever read P.K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, you might be stunned by the prospect.

“Our long-term goal is to create fabrics that can dynamically alter their texture and color to adapt to their environments,” Gorodetsky said. “Basically, we’re seeking to make shape-shifting clothing – the stuff of science fiction – a reality.”

It’s worth noting that a Harvard team devised a robot that mimics squid camouflage capabilities back in 2012. Read about it here.

Findings appeared in the journal Advanced Materials. 

Deep sea squid has tentecle tips that ‘swim’ on their own

Many deep sea animals, such as the infamous anglerfish, use parts of their bodies as decoys, to attract unsuspecting prey. Now, researchers have found that a certain squid can do this as well – its tentacle tips flap and flutter as if swimming on their own. Biologists believe that the mesmerizing movement of the tentacles lures small shrimp and other animals to approach within reach of the squid.

Most squids have eight tentacles which act as ‘arms’, and two longer tentacles which they use for feeding. The tips of the tentacles are often broader and armed with suckers or hooks – used for preying. Deep sea squid Grimalditeuthis bonplandi, named after the reigning family of Monaco, seems to employ a different strategy. A slow, almost lazy swimmer, with a gelatinous body and long, fragile tentacles, it is the only known squid which doesn’t have suckers, hooks, or photophores (glowing spots).

Until a few years ago, nobody had ever seen a living G. bonplandi, except for those captured in thrawling nets. However, using video from underwater robots known as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), the authors of the recent paper were able to study how these squids act in their natural habitat, 1-2 km below the surface.

As you can see from the video, when the ROV first approached, the squids were just hanging around in the water, with their eight arms spread and its two feeding tentacles just dangling below. What intrigued biologists was not that they didn’t move on their own, but that the tip of their tentacles (clubs, as they are often called) were propelled by fluttering and flapping motions of thin, fin-like membranes. The clubs basically appeared to be swimming on their own, while the tentacles were just trailing behind. Instead of acting like most squids, G. bonplandi sends its clubs swimming away from its body, dragging the tentacles behind. Also, when threatened, instead of retracting its tentacles as most squids would do, it first coils both the tentacles and clubs and hides them within its arms before swimming away.

What all these motions do is give the message that the clubs are in fact smaller animals, swimming on their own, independent from the rest of the body. But what’s interesting is that these clubs don’t glow – which of course, makes them invisible at the depths where the squid is living. But researchers have proposed other mechanisms through which it could attract prey: one possibility is that it can disturb glowing microscopic organisms in the surrounding water, also creating sound and turbulence in the water, which can be detected by their prey. Such vibrations might mimic the vibrations used by prey animals to attract mates. But sadly, the team hasn’t been able to actually see the squid capture its prey – until then, we can’t really know for sure.

Either way, this is just another remarkable case of what you can discover indirectly, with insufficient information, and the improbable adaptation strategies animals can implement in order to survive.

Journal Reference: H. J. T. Hoving, L. D. Zeidberg, M. C. Benfield, S. L. Bush, B. H. Robison, M. Vecchione. First in situ observations of the deep-sea squid Grimalditeuthis bonplandi reveal unique use of tentacles. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2013; 280 (1769): 20131463 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.1463

Manipulative female squids consume sperm for nutrition

Benjamin Wegener, a researcher at Monash University’s School of Biological Sciences and his team has shown that for squids, it’s really a dog eat dog out there: certain females consume male ejaculate and sperm as if they were foods, providing more energy for both themselves and future eggs.


For females, it’s really a big win – the sperm is very rich in nutrients, and while ejaculate ingestion has been documented in numerous other species, sperm consumptions is far less common.

“If males have their sperm consumed, rather than used for egg fertilization, they will lose that reproductive opportunity. Therefore, it is in the male’s best interests to try to ensure at least some of his sperm reaches the female’s eggs,” lead author Benjamin Wegener, a researcher at Monash University’s School of Biological Sciences, explained.

Other species which have been documented to consume ejaculate include carrion flies, picture wing flies, a strange marine invertebrate known as Spadella cephaloptera, a type of leech, a marine nudibranch and the southern bottletail squid (Sepiadarium austrinum); humans may ingest sperm, but it’s not part of the standard behavior during reproduction.

“This is an important distinction, as even if the female consumes some of the ejaculate in those internal fertilizers, at least some of the sperm remains inside in the reproductive tract,” he said. “For an external fertilizer with short-term sperm storage, if the female doesn’t lay eggs in time, the male loses his chance to fertilize the eggs.”

This raises many questions. Do the females actually sample the sperm and decide if they want to use it for reproduction or for nutrition? Do they trick unsuspecting, less desirable men into giving their semene? Those are questions yet to be answered.

“As the authors point out, she might even choose to eat the sperm packets from less attractive males and use the sperm from more attractive ones for fertilizing her eggs.”, added Tom Tregenza, a professor of evolutionary ecology at the University of Exeter.


Camouflage robot

Squishy robot camouflages itself effortlessly and blends in [VIDEO]

Camouflage robot

After UAVs inspired by hawks, robotic stability control spun from leaping lizards, wall climbing derived from geckos or the swimming artificial jellyfish made from rat cells,  in yet another remarkable feat of robotics which draws inspiration from nature scientists at Harvard University  have created a robot which mixes the blending capabilities of a squid with the locomotion mechanics of a sea creature.

“We began with the fundamental science question of, ‘Can we make a soft-bodied robot in a very primitive way?’ ” says George Whitesides of Harvard, co-author of the new study in Science this week.

The robot employs a dynamic coloring system, based on micro-channels into which dye is being pumped. These color layers used for the camouflage were first created using molds from 3D printers. Silicone is then poured into the molds to create these micro-channels, topped with another layer of silicone. In all, it takes 30 seconds for the robot to fill with color and another 30 seconds for it to drain – a full minute to completely blend into its surroundings or, oppositely, stand out.

“When we began working on soft robots, we were inspired by soft organisms, including octopi and squid,” says post-doctoral fellow Stephen Morin.

“One of the fascinating characteristics of these animals is their ability to control their appearance, and that inspired us to take this idea further and explore dynamic coloration. I think the important thing we’ve shown in this paper is that even when using simple systems – in this case we have simple, open-ended micro-channels – you can achieve a great deal in terms of your ability to camouflage an object, or to display where an object is.”

Applications for the robot, according to the researchers, include surgical simulation, planning, and training. In medical training today, most practice is made on real tissue, however a disposable artificial tissue which can mold and change color  according to the organ or tissue it needs to simulate might aid in efforts. Also, when filled with florescent dye, the robot becomes distinctly visible acting as a visual marker for search crews following a disaster. The same micro-channels are pumped in or out with air to allow for locomotion, much similar to how a starfish moves in the ocean.

Also, the squishy robot’s camouflage capabilities aren’t limited to visible spectrum. It can change its temperature and thus become invisible to infrared as well, or again stand out for infrared scanners. Or one could hide an object in the visible spectrum and illuminate it in infrared.

“What we hope is that this work can inspire other researchers to think about these problems and approach them from different angles,” Morin says.

“There are many biologists who are studying animal behavior as it relates to camouflage, and they use different models to do that. We think something like this might enable them to explore new questions, and that will be valuable.”

via Popular Mechanics

Octopoteuthis deletron. Image: UC Berkeley

Squid deep-sea species can eject parts of its arms to confuse enemies [/w video]

Octopoteuthis deletron. Image: UC Berkeley

Octopoteuthis deletron. Image: UC Berkeley

Seems like there’s always a study that comes along once in a while describing yet another peculiar squid ability. The latest was discovered by postdoctoral researcher at the University of Rhode Island who discovered a never before seen defensive tactic in any other type of squid species which involved jettisoning parts of its arm when attacked.

Just one foot long, the squid in question, Octopoteuthis deletron, lives in the deep waters of northeast Pacific Ocean. Stephanie Bush, the lead aquatic researcher involved in the study, first suspected this behavior when she noticed several captured specimens had stumps. Scientists had speculated that they may release their arms, just as lizards can release their tails when attacked, but no one had seen it happen. She embarked on one of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s submersibles, which also had a deep-water underwater camera installed, and went on the lookout for specimens to poke. No, really. The submersible’s mechanical arm, which in typical operations is used to grab things, was now instructed to prod some of the squid that were found. Initially, they didn’t come to any conclusive results, but after attaching bottle brush to the arm Bush immediately noticed how poked squids detached arm parts, and convulsively scattered away leaving a small cloud of ink behind it – an ubiquitous defense mechanism present both in squids and octopi.

“The very first time we tried it, the squid spread its arms wide and it was lighting up like fireworks,” she said. “It then came forward and grabbed the bottlebrush and jetted backwards, leaving two arms on the bottlebrush. We think the hooks on its arms latched onto the bristles of the brush, and that was enough for the arms to just pop off.”

The squid are able to re-grow their missing arms, but this mechanisms comes at a great cost, like any defense mechanism.

“There is definitely an energy cost associated with this behavior, but the cost is less than being dead,” Bush said.

The pieces of ejected pieces of arms are bio-luminescent, and keep on moving for a few good seconds after becoming detached. The bio-luminescence is thought to distract enemies or prey while the squid either escapes or attacks. In further experiments, Bush found that some octopus squid appeared hesitant to sacrifice their limbs, but some did so after being prodded several times. Subsequent research showed that the arm bits do grow back, but it takes quite a while, so the squids aren’t inclined to lose them unless absolutely necessary.

Bush’s research on squid began in 2003 when she decided to investigate the assumptions that some scientists had made about deep-sea animals.

“Scientists had assumed that squid living in the deep-sea would not release ink as a defensive measure, but all the species I’ve observed did release ink,” she said. “They assumed that because they’re in the dark all day every day that they’re not doing the same things that shallow water squids are doing. They also assumed that deep-sea squid don’t change color because of the dark, but they do.”

Findings were reported in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Dumpling squids, male and female, locked together in an enduring sexual intercourse. In the aftermath, both are left exhausted and become vulnerable to predators. (c) M. Norman

Promiscuous dumpling squid has a short life expectancy due to excessive mating

Dumpling squids, male and female, locked together in an enduring sexual intercourse. In the aftermath, both are left exhausted and become vulnerable to predators. (c) M. Norman

Dumpling squids, male and female, locked together in an enduring sexual intercourse. In the aftermath, both are left exhausted and become vulnerable to predators. (c) M. Norman

Squids and cephalopods, in general, might not be the sexiest animals out there, but their mating systems are quite interesting, to say the least. For instance,  the male bioluminescent Dana Octopus Squid uses its beak and sharp claws to pierce holes in its mate before using a penis-like appendage to insert sperm into the cuts. Female giant squids bite bits off of the males during mating, turning coitus into a cannibalistic ecstasy. Add the Australian dumpling squid to the list of promiscuous cephalopods, after researchers closely studying the animal found it engages in exhausting three hours-long sexual intercourse. In the aftermath, the dumpling squid is extremely vulnerable to predators, which might explain their short lifespan.

During intercourse, the male grabs the female from underneath, and holds her in place throughout copulation; also, the male changes colour, squirts ink and pumps jets of water into the female’s mantle – pretty wild if you ask me. These guys don’t waste time, there’s no foreplay. Regardless, both male and female are completely exhausted at least thirty minutes afterward – researchers found that swimming endurance was halved after mating for both sexes.

“The squid mate for up to three hours and the male must physically restrain the female during this time,” said researcher Amanda Franklin from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

“It was exciting for us to show that this affects their physical abilities after mating because this has not been shown before.”

The dumpling squid’s ‘wild’ mating ritual comes at a great cost, as energy available for avoiding predators and feeding is consumed, making them extremely vulnerable. The squids only live for less than a year, and their last few months are spent almost exclusively mating, time in which the male mates with as many partners as possible.

Still, the squids try to compensate for their low-energy levels after mating, as both males and females change colour from sandy yellow to dark purple with green and orange highlights in order to blend into their surroundings. However, this isn’t always effective. The dumpling squid is a high card player, living life to the fullest; it doesn’t care that its lifestyle comes with a short life span.

“[The energetic cost of sex] is likely to affect how an animal behaves after mating and may also influence how often an individual will mate,” said Ms Franklin.

Findings were published in the journal Biology Letters.


Giant squids take to California

Yes ladies and gents, giant squids are all over the California beaches. Each of the squids weighs about 40 pounds, but some of them reach 60 and even more than that. I haven’t been able to find out what’s up with them, or why they gathered in such numbers, but according to scientists, this happens almost periodically, though they cannot have a totally satisfying explanation. The most plausible guess is that they’ve been brought there by a warm water current.


Anyway, there’s no reason to panic or anything, though you might want to avoid taking a swim this week. However, local anglers are absolutely delighted, catching them by the hundreds, and since things probably won’t change, we’re going to be talking thousands pretty soon; they also sometimes get rolled over on land, there they remain stranded and eventually end up rotting.

The searches for “giant squids” have gone through the roof, so I’m guessing a lot of people are interested or quite nervous about this. The squid in case is the Humboldt squid, also name Jumbo Squid, Jumbo Flying Squid, or Diablo Rojo (which is just Spanish for “red devil”). They rarely weight over 100 pounds, and their average lifespan is at about 1 year. Oh, they’re giant by comparison with most squids, but there others that make it pale in comparison. The biggest squid out there is (arguably) the colossal squid.