While the gay squid / self insemenating squid angle is interesting, I think possibility that seismic surveys are killing squid is a far more important news story.Internal examinations shed some light on the mystery, with the discovery that two of the squid had suffered extensive damage to internal muscle fibres and their stomachs were ripped open and their digestive tracts mangled – one animal in particular had probably died from its injuries. The squid had also suffered severe damage to their ears that would have effectively disorientated them. The coincidence was that at the time of both mass strandings, geologists had been running a seismic airgun survey in the vicinity with a line of 10 towed airguns – each capable of firing 200 decibel sound pulses down to the seabed.
The fact that squids don't have ears makes me question the credibility of the whole article, although it's certainly plausible that strong shock waves could hurt squids... I don't know of an authoritative scientific study, but it's mentioned in one of Richard Ellis' books that someone has a theory that sperm whales use a sonar "blast" focused by the big oil-filled cavities in their heads to stun squids before eating them....Jared said:Here is the source for this article. What I find interesting here is their speculation on the cause of the strandings.
While the gay squid / self insemenating squid angle is interesting, I think possibility that seismic surveys are killing squid is a far more important news story.
Jared said:Rather than doing the homework I'm supposed to be doing, I allowed myself to be sidetracked buy the questions raised by that newsletter article. I managed to find the journal paper that inspired the newsletter piece.
Records of giant squid in the north-eastern Atlantic, and two records of male Architeuthis sp off the Iberian Peninsula
GUERRA A, GONZALEZ AE, DAWE EG, et al.
JOURNAL OF THE MARINE BIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
84 (2): 427-431 APR 2004
That paper cites a letter to Nature regarding the oxygen binding capability of Architeuthis blood. The letter is by Ole Brix of Norway and it's from volume 303 published in June of 1983. The gist of it is that blood was taken from a giant squid that had been dead for two days and the oxygen binding properties of the blood were tested at different temperatures. Apparently, their blood doesn't work very well at higher temperatures. I think I'll need to take BioChem before I actually understand the entire letter though.
The cool thing about the article is that it says the squid was actually alive at the time of capture and that it was hooked in small bay that was about 15 feet deep!