Reproductive behavior in the squid Sepioteuthis australis from South Australia: interactions on the spawning grounds

Biol Bull. 2003 Jun;204(3):305-17. doi: 10.2307/1543601.


Squid behavior is synonymous with distinctive body patterns, postures, and movements that constitute a complex visual communication system. These communications are particularly obvious during reproduction. They are important for sexual selection and have been identified as a potential means of species differentiation. Here we present a detailed account of copulation, mating, and egg deposition behaviors from in situ observations of the squid Sepioteuthis australis from South Australia. We identified four mating types from 85 separate mating attempts: "Male-upturned mating" (64% of mating attempts); "Sneaker mating" (33%); "Male-parallel" (2%); and "Head-to-head" (1%). Intervals between successive egg deposition behaviors were clearly bimodal, with modes at 2.5 s and 70.0 s. Ninety-three percent of egg capsules contained 3 or 4 eggs (mean = 3.54), and each egg cluster contained between 218 and 1922 egg capsules (mean = 893.9). The reproductive behavior of S. australis from South Australia was different from that described for other cephalopod species. More importantly, comparison between these results and those for other populations of S. australis suggests that behavior may differ from one population to another.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Agonistic Behavior / physiology
  • Animal Communication*
  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Decapodiformes / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Oviposition / physiology
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*
  • Time Factors