Sperm storage in cephs

Discussion in 'Physiology and Biology' started by Benjamin, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Benjamin

    Benjamin Larval Mass Registered

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    Hey guys,

    I'm trying to find out any info on how long females can store sperm from males before using them to lay eggs
    (especially in regards to squid)

    The longest example I've come across is in the octopus Bathypolypus arcticus which can apparently store sperm for up to 10 months.

    Does anyone know of any squid examples??? (they don't need to be 10 months! just trying to figure out the potential timeframes)

    thanks!
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I can't help with squid but I have read that octopuses can store sperm up to 4 months and my first O.mercatoris laid fertile eggs after 4 months in an aquarium with no male exposure. However, she only produced 6 viable offspring (I never saw the eggs). The interesting part was that 5 of the 6 survived to full adults with normal lifespans. The sixth died by climbing out of the water and not finding its way back so it may have survived as well. Given that 50 - 100 offspring is more normal with a 1% survival rate, I find it interesting that the high survival rate with her low number of offspring is the same as the 1% of the low estimate on normal hatchling broods.
     
  3. Level_Head

    Level_Head Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    The maximum duration of viable sperm seems to me only to be really deducible from captured specimens. That's a tough thing with squid; few species have been raised successfully and generally are not raised individually (necessary to determine that the insemination was not recent).

    Dr. O'Shea has made excellent progress here on raising deep-sea squid -- as I recall, he was working with Sepioteuthis australis with good initial results. There have been others. But I don't know of anything beyond the ten months you mentioned -- and that number shows up in this paper on the deep-sea octopus Graneledone boreopacifica.

    I've not encountered any larger durations than ten months, nor any similar numbers for squid, but I'll bet that Steve O'Shea and others will have good knowledge and resources on the topic. Evolutionary selection for long periods seems surprising, considering the short lifespan of the squid themselves. And yet, this is as true of octopuses. I've seen viable storage described as "weeks" and "up to two months" in cuttlefish -- and in cuttlefish and squid the discussion frequently centers on the female's selection of sperm from a subset of many matings to do fertilization. (In the linked paper above, the single octopus clutch was shown to be the result of multiple fathers.)
     
  4. bathypol

    bathypol Wonderpus Registered

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    The sperm storage ability of Bathypolypus arcticus (depending on where it was caught, more than likely B. bairdii) is likely because of the difficulty of finding mates. They are relatively common (B. bairdii that is) but widely dispersed so the chances of them running into a "better" mate is low. So they mate when they can. I'm not sure how long they can store the sperm but I do know that some really good articles came out by O'Dor and Wood regarding B. arcticus' life history in the early 2000's.
     
  5. neurobadger

    neurobadger Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    I dunno about how long they can store sperm, but Humboldt squid spermatophores look like they're constructed fairly hardily. They remind me of monofilamentous fishing line, except slightly thicker.

    Yes, I have seen - and handled - Humboldt squid spooge. :P
     
  6. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    At least you KNEW what you were handling :wink:
     
  7. Level_Head

    Level_Head Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    While others take a while to finger it out.

    It appears that females of certain species have specific facilities to keep the sperm alive. In other instances, the spermatophores seem to burrow indiscriminately into mantle tissue. I wonder if any sustenance is derived in that instance? Certainly, those spermatophores were originally thought to be parasites of the adult -- is it possible that they were correct, in a sense, after all?
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Boy could a horror sci-fi writer have a good time with that tangent :grin: Flesh eating sperm :yuck: (alien revisited?)
     
  9. Level_Head

    Level_Head Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Know any science fiction writers who specialize in tentacles?

    (Tentacles is not the right word, of course, but it does make me think of this song.)

    But seriously, there are precedents of sorts for such an arrangement. The male of at least one group of anglerfish burrows into the side of the much larger female, and spends the rest of his life there -- being ultimately sustained by her bloodstream and losing everything except testes.

    Hmm...

    If a burrowing cepho-spermatophore
    Isn't fed, then what does it come at her for?
    To keep months has a cost
    Is it "Parasite Lost"?
    Or is "symbiont" better as metaphor?
     
  10. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    OK, that has got to be one of your best rhymes yet!

    Is the "musical" an actual play? It sounded like a real performance and likely very funny.

    I knew about the angler but that is different than a sperm ingesting its host until it gets married to an egg. However, it would fit well into the same story.

    Please finish your current work before entering the horror genre as I want to read more about the convergent evolution that has not happened yet :grin:
     
  11. Level_Head

    Level_Head Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Yes, they did the entire production of "Shoggoth on the Roof" -- eleven songs of which have been captured on YouTube in this playlist. "To life, to life, I'll bring them -- I'll bring all those dead men to life!" I would have expected it to be popular here.

    I am writing a research proposal at the moment involving eyeballs -- but unfortunately, vertebrate eyes rather than cephalopod ones. I promise to get back to my real work soon.

    I cannot help but think that someone here would know whether the burrowing spermatophores get anything from the tissue they are encased in.
     

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