Giant squids are the largest invertebrates which live in groups called schools. They inhabit deep waters of the ocean. Adaptations which enable them to live in those conditions are slow metabolism, minimal movements, low oxygen requirement, blue blood which transfers oxygen faster and sensitive eyes for spotting preys in the dark. These squids grow rapidly from the infant stage to adulthood. Their life span is short and limited to a maximum of three years.
The female is usually larger in size compared to males. Although adult squids may be smaller in size, their reproductive system will mature at the correct time in their life cycle.
The life cycle of squids is complex. Young squids have a pair of fins while in middle age they have only 2 pairs. On getting older, it gets reduced back to one pair. The fins change their direction, become smaller, efficient and save energy.
The vastness of the ocean beds makes finding a partner difficult for squids. Once the male inseminates the female, the discretion of timing to use them for fertilization of eggs rests with the female. The eggs take 400 days of care for hatching from the female after which the female dies.
The mating often is displayed in groups. A grand show of body language will be exhibited to attract the opposite sex. The arms are maintained rigid and abrupt flourishes of the body attract the mate. Once chosen, the male will swim upside down constantly hovering around the female and then inseminates to inject sperms.
The sperms are produced and stored in sacs in the males. Once the preferred position is achieved, the male preps a special arm which delivers the sperms into the female. The main attraction is the method in which the male wields the arms and comes close to the buccal cavity of the female. This is the location where she stores eggs.
The tentacle used during reproduction is very large and called hectocotylus. This reaches into the sac, grabs spermatophores and injects the female on any part like mantle, buccal cavity, head or arms. The hectocotylus acts like a detachable penis and sometimes breaks off during insemination and remains stuck on the female’s body. Fertilized eggs are taken out of the female and these floating masses containing thousands of eggs. They are hidden in holes or below other objects. Squids emerge within 4 to 6 weeks. Some species have larval stage after which fully formed adult squids emerge. In some species, the female thrusts out small eggs individually.
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