Under The Sea

Little Squid, Big Sperm: Why Do Cephalopods Get To Have All the Fun?

Last week, NationalGeographic.com published an interesting feature on a recent study exploring the sexual habits of the spear squid. Apparently smaller males, known appropriately enough as “sneaker” squid, atone for their minuscule size by sneaking up on knocked-up females and by having bigger sperm than their larger male counterparts.

The article also sheds light on the spear squid’s mating rituals and reveals the existence of an additional sex organ that sounds a lot like a vagina on the female’s chin. Pop those champagne corks: Huzzah for chin-ginas and plus-sized sperm!

Here’s how sneaker squid make babies:

Lady squid apparently only really want to get it on with big boys who dazzle them with pulsating lights located in their manly mollusk bods. Once the girl squid indicates she’s down to do the dirty, the male raises her above him, as if they’re  trying out for the undersea version of Dancing with the Stars. Holding a “sperm packet,” the squid stud then shoves his arm into her oviduct. (Nice—sounds like trying to pleasure a woman with a Hot Pocket.) After homeboy successfully jams the packet into her, the lady squid shoots her fertilized eggs out onto the ocean floor, where they will eventually hatch.

Now, as she begins to toss her egg salad out, a sneaker squid—which doesn’t have the internal light show its bigger brothers do—will often take the opportunity to splash his seed all up in her mix as well, and the two start sexing “head-to-head.” According to Toko Iwata, the squid whisperer who authored the study, a lady squid can accommodate the little feller with the “specific sperm-storage organ near her mouth for sneaker males.” (We don’t know about you, but we can’t read the word “sperm” that many times in one article without breaking into a sweat.)

Not to start pointing fingers—or sperm-packet-bearing tentacles—but this sounds like the damn squid version of Maury. Can we get a paternity test up in this business? This squid-gina is hotter than a deep-sea hydrothermal vent.  It’s like that weekend your friends took you to Fire Island all over again!

After playing around with their squid jizz—all in the name of science, of course—Iwata found that the sneaker males had longer sperm. Perhaps this could be useful info for all those guys who fudge their height on Grindr. The shrimpier the male, the more jumbo the sperm? It might net them a really curious catch or two.