Reproductive behavior in the squid Sepioteuthis australis from South Australia: ethogram of reproductive body patterns

Biol Bull. 2003 Jun;204(3):290-304. doi: 10.2307/1543600.


Squids use a diverse range of body patterns for communication. Each pattern consists of a series of chromatic, postural, and locomotor components that are under neural control and can change within fractions of a second. Here we describe an ethogram of 48 body pattern components from in situ observations of reproductively active Sepioteuthis australis. In addition, we identify the total time and average duration that each component is shown, to a resolution of 1 s. Our results suggest that only a few components (e.g., "Golden epaulettes," "Stitchwork fins," and "Rigid arms") are temporally common, that is, shown for more than 80% of the time. In contrast to the component classification reported for other species of squid, for this species we suggest a classification system consisting of "short acute" (lasting for < 10 s); some of these same components were also classified as "medium acute" (11-60 s) or "chronic" (> 60 s). Several body patterning components were previously unreported, as were some of the combinations observed. The significance of these patterning components is discussed within the context of the associated behaviors of the squid on the spawning grounds.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Communication*
  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Chromatophores / physiology
  • Decapodiformes / physiology*
  • Kinesics
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*
  • Time Factors