Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002

Just a wee update here.

I no longer have the time to tend for these animals, as in rear them through, but there is now a full-time display of 6 large broad squid at Kelly Tarlton's (here in NZ), although they are not on SQUIDCAM (and it is unlikely that I'll start this up again).

We had a wee function at Kelly's last evening, marking the opening of a 'freaky fish' exhibit, with a giant squid centre stage, and I got to watching these broad squid (mesmerised, as you get). Last week one of the females (perhaps several) laid some eggs in the tank; the eggs look great.

I immediately commented that the eggs would have to be removed and placed in a separate tank with higher current flow, as they invariably deteriorate in tanks with low flow (insufficient agitation to aerate all of the jelly-like strands full of embryos); I have lost quite a few egg masses because of this (I have never had adults in the tank with eggs though). Last night those eggs still looked pristine, and I did wonder if I was getting a tad rusty in my recollection of egg-culture conditions.

.... so I stood there and watched, and within several minutes two of the 6 squid had lunged down, flushed the eggs with their siphons, and teased their arms through the egg strands so as to clean/agitate & aerate them. I had just witnessed maternal/paternal care of squid eggs!! Wow! I had not seen this before, nor had I heard of it for this species .... and I certainly did not expect it from something that is supposed to be a terminal spawner!
Still not sure I'd want squid for parents, but it was neat to see them tending the eggs. Also reminded me that I took some photos of them while they were still behind the scenes in the quarantine area, so here are a few of those. I'll try to get some of the actual display this weekend when I'm back in.

For scale, that white standpipe in the background is about 3" in diameter.


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I also got a few videos, but I'll spare you most of them. I spent about an hour mesmerized by these guys when they first came in, and they seemed curious about me at first, but lost interest pretty quickly. :cry: But I did catch one of them 'pointing' at, um, some fingers in the tank (not mine, I swear :roll: ), and even putting its clubs slightly out of the water - you can see them break the surface in one of the videos. In the other, I tried to get some attention by resuspending some of the food that had landed on the bottom, but, well, you can see what they thought of that. :hmm:

(Except the files are too large... will email to Tony for posting... stay tuned)
That is so cool! The tentacle pointing was really clear in the video, and paternal care sounds amazing to watch. I wonder if they are looking after the eggs because they are still in proximity to them, whereas in nature they would have moved on from the area. Of course, if they did move away from the eggs, then they probably wouldn't know how to look after them, interesting...But doesn't that also mean that they're on their way out pretty soon? That'll be too bad. Has anyone ever spent much time observing Sepioteuthis australis (?) in nature following egg laying?

Which tank are they in at Kelly's? They sure don't like those dead fish, do they Kat? What are they feeding them on now? How did Kelly's get them?

This is all very neat.
That is very interesting. Note this excerpt:
But this species appeared “fairly healthy” after egg laying, notes Seibel. Even so the mother weakens as the eggs develop, as she does not feed while holding her progeny. The team believes the adult carries her eggs around in this way for between six to nine months before they hatch, by which time she is exhausted.
Sounds very octopus-like!
Bumping this thread.

There's been SQUIDCAM threads I, II and III, and soon there'll be IV. Yup, I've decided to do it all over again, and there's a near-industrial and extremely noisy setup in my office right now. I'm not sure how I'm going to get any work done for the next 5-or-so months .... but do I really care :)

I'll post the new thread, SQUIDCAM IV, when the webcam is on the tank. We currently have several bunches of Sepioteuthis eggs with nicely developing embryos. They should hatch in a couple of weeks; the CAM should be on well before then.

PS, for those of you not familiar with SQUIDCAM, you're in for a surprise. I didn't realise it, but it's been 5 years since we've done this!! FIVE YEARS! That's a very long time; I wonder what technology is available to us now to make it more visual/interactive?
The system is as ugly as sin! I was late getting into work today .... didn't expect them to start hatching so soon, but sure enough one has (although you cannot see it in this shot).

Twice a day, morn and eve, they'll hatch out, so tomorrow I'd expect to see a good 20-or-so in there. Will take pics then.

Am waiting on the web guru folk to set up the webcam, and when they have I'll black out the entire area, place lighting above, and you'll be able to track them again.


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