Giant squid leaves sexcapades to chance

Stralsund - The giant squid is not especially choosy when it comes to sex and will mate blind without checking if the object of its affection is male or female, a German researcher said on Tuesday.

Volker Miske, of the Stralsund maritime museum in northeast Germany, said a male specimen being prepared for conservation had sperm underneath its skin.

The giant squid reproduces by the male injecting sperm under the skin of its female partner.

"The theory about two male giant squid mating is not new, but for the first time we have something that seriously supports that theory," he told reporters.

"It's the first time that (sperm) traces have been discovered in a part of the body so far from the sexual organ.

"Until now, it was thought males injected themselves with sperm by accident during mating. But that is definitely not the case here: the sperm was clearly injected by another giant squid."

There is another possibility that cannot be totally excluded, Miske added, which is that the infusion of sperm happened during group sex.

However, that is unlikely given that chance encounters between giant squid, rare, multi-tentacled creatures which live at depths of between 300 and 1 000 metres below sea level, are few and far between.

The six-metre-long specimen being prepared at Stralsund was discovered by a team led by the New Zealand researcher Steve O'Shea. - Sapa-AFP

Published on the Web by IOL on 2004-05-04 18:12:02


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