Biologists have uncovered new insights into how the male sexual behaviour of the peculiar southern bottletail squid is primed to produce the greatest number of offspring.
Recent studies published in the journals Biology Letters and Behavioral Ecology, have revealed the female squid ingest the ejaculates of their mates, a trait never before associated with any species of cephalopod – a group including squid, octopus,cuttlefish and nautilus.
The studies, led by PhD student Benjamin Wegener and Dr Bob Wong from Monash University’s School of Biological Sciences, in collaboration with researchers at Melbourne University and Museum Victoria, revealed females used the nutrients from this consumption to aid in the growth of her unfertilized eggs.
This appeared to have implications for how males invest in mating opportunities, particularly as smaller females were found to ingest more of the male’s ejaculate than larger females.
Mr Wegener said this could explain why males preferred to mate with larger females in an attempt to minimise ejaculate consumption and better their chances for egg fertilization.
“These squid live for just a year and have only a single breeding season before they die, so it’s not surprising that the males can be highly strategic when evaluating potential mates,” Mr Wegener said.
“The findings suggest that males who copulate with smaller females could pay a higher price for their ejaculate expenditure.”
Both sexes mate from an early stage with females storing sperm from males in an external pouch below their mouth. The male passes sperm packages into the pouch where they are stored for later egg fertilization.
Read more at: Phys.org