A female of the largest squid in the world which is sometimes referred to as "kraken" after the mythological sea monster that was captured off the coast of Japan obviously had only one sexual encounter in her existence.
The female possessed sperm packets from only a male giant squid implanted in her body and this surprised the researchers. Since giant squid are creatures that exist alone and likely meet potential mates sometimes, scientists anticipated that females would deviously collect and preserve sperm from various males with time.
A biologist at Shimane University in Japan whose name is Noritaka Hirohashi said: "We were almost confident that they are promiscuous. We just wanted to know how many males are involved in copulation. So this is totally unexpected."
Hirohashi and his team study sperm biology and reproduction in different squid species, but the giant squid - Architeuthis dux - is the most mysterious of all. The creature is rarely seen alive and has a life cycle enveloped in the mystery of the deep ocean.
Mating Habits of Giant Squid
Footage of living giant squid in their natural surrounding has been gotten just two times. The only information researchers have about the mating habits of these strange creatures is that at times female giant squid are discovered with large sperm packets referred to as spermatangia implanted in their muscles.
Scientists writing in a paper of 1997 in the journal Nature put forward that giant male squid possibly make use of their "muscular elongate penis" to introduce the sperm packets into the females.
What isn't totally clear is how sperm meets egg from there. There's a possibility that the female discharges a chemical signal that triggers the sperm when she's ready to reproduce, or maybe the female releases her eggs in such a manner that they trail along the sperm packets when leaving her body.
Female Squids do possess organs close to the mouth known as seminal receptacles. Some species store sperm here, and there is a possibility that in those species, the implanted sperm can move over the skin to these receptacles.
Being aware that seeing two giant squid mating is very unlikely, Hirohashi and his colleagues developed a window into the process with the use of genetics. Inspecting squid samples from the archives of fisheries and museums, they highlighted some parts of the giant squid genome that would differentiate one set of squid DNA from another.
Think of this like a paternity test of squid: Test can be carried out on any sperm packets discovered on a female to know if they are from multiple males and if they are, how many.
The researchers are frequently looking out for sperm-spangled females. They send flyers out to fisheries local museums, and aquariums, telling them to let the research lab know if a giant squid specimen shows up. They got good news last year February.
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