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Thousands of gay jumbo squid mating off the coast of California

Thousands of gay jumbo squid mating off the coast of California

Squid performing the mating ritual.

A recent study has highlighted same-sex sexual activity in Dosidicus gigas, also known as Humboldt squid.

These cephalopods, more commonly known as jumbo squid due to their size, are predatory squid living in the waters of the Humboldt Current in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Henk-Jan T. Hoving, Fernando Á. Fernández-Álvarez, Elan J. Portner and William F. Gilly have analyzed the same-sex behavior of said species. It also pointed out the benefits of having male-to-male sexual encounters.

Researchers have studied the Dosidicus gigas population in the Gulf of California in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

They observed and quantified the spermatangia deposited in the tissue of the buccal area, that is the potential space in the cheek.

‘In all years, numerous males were encountered that had been mated by other males,’ the study says.

There are similarities between same-sex and opposite-sex mating

The scientists also noticed there are overall similarities in mating frequency and body size of mated individuals, regardless of gender.

‘Spermatangia in males were deposited on the tissue in similar numbers and in the same location as normally occurs in females (the buccal area), suggesting that male-to-male mating behavior is similar to male-to-female.’

This ‘suggests non-discriminative and brief encounters with body size being a cue for mating’.

Humboldt squid normally live in groups where competition for mates is high.

Therefore, researchers believe male-to-male mating might be advantageous for the species.

‘The energetic costs of male-to-male mating events may be counterbalanced by the fitness profits of indiscriminate mating behavior,’ the study says.

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