Sex life of the squid


New: Aristotle and the sex life of squid




Cephalopod P0rn by Hokusai          (thanks to  Monkeyfilter)


In intelligence, the Squid and the Octopus far outclass not merely all other members of the mollusc phylum (e.g., clams and oysters -- no surprise there), but all other invertebrates. They have impressive problem-solving abilities and, according to some, a playful sense of humor. They are among the kinkier creatures, mating violently and without concern for the exact gender or species of the cephalopod they are hot for. (This story used to be on the internet, but it has been censored)

Cephalopod eyes are very similiar to mammalian eyes, and in some respects superior since they have no blind spot. Their thick nerves give them the quickest reaction time of any species. Their blood is blue -- see my hemoglobin  piece. The biggest squid on record are more than 60 feet long, but there are almost certainly bigger ones in the deep.


Whaling is good for squid, since their main natural enemy is the sperm whale, and their numbers have exploded as whaling has decimated the whole population. Except for me, however, they have few advocates, even though their eyes are bigger and seemingly more affectionate than the cruel, beady eyes of the murderous sperm whale. Greenpeace is no friend of the squid, and one of these days we can expect to hear that some  of the Rainbow Warrior mercenaries have gone to their final reward, trapped by the hooked tentacles of a Colossal Squid  and torn to pieces by its dual beaks.


I succeeded in becoming the #1 Google for "Sex Life of the Squid" without actually posting anything about the sex life of the squid.

The real place to go to for this kind of thing is Pharyngula -- the project of a biology teacher who happens to work about forty miles from where I grew up. Pharyngula is a general-purpose biology blog, which gives considerable attention to the politics of evolution and "intelligent design".

What is the plural of octopus? (More here here and  here).

More from Pharyngula -- octopus sex. Octopuses are promiscuous and bisexual, and the female sometimes eats the male afterwards.

Here's the real scoop on squid sex -- they do it "manually" with their tentacles.

Courtship, mating, and jealousy

Cuttlefish guys pretend to be girls in order to get close to real girls being guarded by jealous husbands. (Cuttlefish are closely related to squid).

And here's something on tentacle rape in human fantasy  -- not terribly unrealistic, given the actual facts about cephalopod sex.

This site specializes in squid and other sea creatures.  

This link shows cephalopods' astonishing ability to mimic their surroundings for purposes of camouflage. Not only can they match the background color, but on a rippling background, octopi can ripple. Or they can scare off predators by changing their shape to look frightening.

Below is a graphic version of a squid catching a shrimp, stolen from comment #11 here. Note that the squid's two attacking arms move forward, while the other eight arms curl back for body English. (A full scientific analysis of this sequence is in this pdf.)

Squid webcam

Fluorescent vampire squid

Squid are taking over the world

The world record for keeping squid alive in captivity is is 120 days, -- however, the link just above says that squid are live-fast-die-young types and rarely live longer than 200 days.

50 foot giant squid captured

Some good links

Many good cephalopod links

Evolutionary relationships of the cephalopods (squid, octopi, etc.) in the Mollusc family

More on the evolutionary relationships of the cephalopods

Hox genes in squid evolution

Mystery octopus in Wisconsin 




All original material copyright John J. Emerson 

Return to Idiocentrism