Squid Breeding and Reproduction
Squid have an interesting way of reproducing. Through careful research the process has been observed. It is the same for the many different species of squid out there. When it is time for the mating to occur, there are large schools of males and females. The process of attracting females begins in the mornings. Around dawn they can be seen swimming rapidly in very large circles.
The females join in this swim in circles which initially can seem very strange and out of control. However, as time goes by you will start to notice that these squid are now swimming in pairs as they go around. These are the couples that have linked up for mating to take place. The males have changing colors on them which is what attracts the females to them. Once a female has shown an interest the mating takes place.
There are some known breeding areas out there where these events take place. Prior to the mating beginning some squid will swim long distances to take part in it. The entire process is actually quite fascinating for researchers to follow. The males can be very aggressive too when it comes to finding a female to mate with.
While you can’t see it by looking at the females, they have an ink sac hidden under a set of glands in the gills. This serves as the protective shell for the eggs she will produce. During the mating process the sperm from the males are placed inside of this sac where they will fertilize her eggs. When you look closely at the arms of a squid, you will notice the male has one that is shorter than the rest. This is what is used to place the sperm into the female.
Thousands of eggs can be produced at a time by one female. It isn’t known how the eggs develop inside of the body of the squid. More research has to be done in that area before we can uncover all of those details. What we do know is that the size of the eggs depends on the species, but they are all quite small in size.
For some species the number can be up to 70,000! However, many of them are eaten by predators so there is never an overpopulation of squid out there in the waters. Most of these eggs never end up becoming offspring.
She will distribute them in hidden areas of the water including under rocks or in various holes and crevices she can find. It can be up to eight weeks before those eggs hatch so keeping them save from predators can be difficult. The female squid don’t wait around for them to hatch, they leave after depositing them.
The baby squid fend for themselves from the very start. They already know how to swim. Yet many of these offspring are killed in the first few days of life. For many species of squid, the parents die soon after reproducing due to the very short life span of these creatures.
From the moment that a squid is born, the fight to survive is on. They have to find enough food for their own survival. However, at the same time they are struggling to keep predators at bay. The life span for a squid that does survive against the odds when they are young is only about a year or two. They live fast lives that are very difficult most of the time.
Due to this, most males and females will only mate once in their lives. For some species they are able to do so a second time before they die.