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Scientists Finally Figure Out How Squids Mate

There are all sorts of animals that we actually have never seen get it on. Squid used to be one of them

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Animal sex is a strange thing to us. Spiders eat their mates, honey bees’ testicles explode, garter snakes have giant orgies, and snails have their genitals on the necks. But there are also all sorts of animals that we actually have never seen get it on. Squid were one of them. But no longer! Scientists have finally filmed some squid sexy times, and here is the footage:

Scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History describe the squid love this way:

Undaunted by the bright lights of the remote controlled sub filming their activity some 1,400 meters down in the Gulf of Mexico, the two deep-sea squid (species:Pholidoteuthis adami) maintained their unusual but intimate position. The male was upside down on top of the hovering female, gripping her firmly; their bodies parallel but pointing in opposite directions.

Clearly visible connecting the dark-purple cephalopods is the white “terminal organ” or penis of the male, extending out through the male’s funnel. (A jet-propelled squid forcibly squirts water through its funnel, causing its body to shoot forward tail first.)

Scientists had a lot of guesses about how squids might have mated, based on examining their anatomy. That “terminal organ” they talk about above was assumed to, well, do what it does. But it doesn’t exactly work the way they predicted. Here are the scientists again:

“People have guessed how the terminal organ was used, but in some ways they guessed wrong,” explains Michael Vecchione, a research zoologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History…. “We knew the terminal organ was located in the mantle of the male but we didn’t know that it projected through the funnel. The male was upside down, that also was surprising.”

Sounds perfect for a squid episode of Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno.

More from Smithosnian.com:

Elusive Giant Squid Captured on Film for the First Time
VIDEO: This Deep-Sea Squid Breaks Off Its Own Arms to Confuse Predators

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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