The southern dumpling squid. (Photo : Mark Norman)
We may be one of the few creatures on this planet who have sex for fun, but that doesn't make us the most promiscuous. A new contender in town - the southern dumpling squid - has such exhausting, marathon sex sessions with multiple partners that they are too tired to be able to escape from predators and have to simply hide in the sand.
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"We found that after mating, both male and female dumpling squid took up to thirty minutes to recover to their previous swimming ability," one of the authors of the paper, Amanda Franklin from the University of Melbourne said.
"We predict that during this phase of muscle fatigue, squid may hide in the sand to avoid predators until they have recovered. The cost to them in doing this of course is that they cannot forage for food or search for other mates at this time."
There may be some slight creepiness in the idea of a team of researchers hunched over notebooks taking notes while watching a couple of squid go at it for three hours straight, but it's all in the name of science...right?
From the press release:
"Ms. Franklin said the team was keen to understand the impact of such an extensive mating ritual because although traditionally thought to be trivial, the energetic costs of mating could reduce an animal's survival if it decreased the ability to avoid predators and forage for food."
For all we know, it might have also been a cloaked inquiry into why her partner falls asleep immediately after sex and doesn't stay up talking or cuddling.
In any case, the findings do reveal more to us about the year-long lifespan of the dumpling squid that lives in the waters of Southern Australia. They seem to mate aggressively with multiple partners in their final months in an attempt to pass on their genes.
If you're slightly curious and also wondering how exactly these squids get it on, here's the description from the University of Melbourne:
"Dumpling squid engage in up to three hours of mating and males appear to initiate mating whenever the opportunity arises. The male grabs the female from underneath, and holds her in place throughout copulation. Both males and females can change color from a sandy yellow to dark purple with green and orange highlights. They can also produce a cloud of ink as a decoy to help them escape from predators."
I can only imagine how many phone calls a squid has to make once he or she comes down with an STD.