Watch the communal spawning of squid off the California coast.
It’s the last thing they do: one huge orgy of mating, and then they collapse, spent and dying.
Why is it that someone ALWAYS has to call them “fish” in all these documentaries? I mean seriously, they’re supposed to be knowledgeable about squid and they’re calling them FISH?
Le not-so-petite mort.
Fishermen use the word “fish” in the context of fisheries — so you can go fishing for crab, or squid, or whale, or even true teleost fish. It’s a word that has been rendered radically generic in defiance of biological taxonomy.
It’s all part of god’s cunning plan. Those that take part in an orgy deserve to die! And it’s Intelligent Design – they don’t even need to stone the sinners amongst themselves.
What a great way to go…
@#4– a riposte, repost:
For squid or starfish, perch or porgy,
There’s nothing like an ocean orgy
Where, unlike silly human rules,
Of course we want more sex in schools
Monogamy’s against the norms
For those who have their sex in swarms!
Indeed, were there some fishy prude–
Who found such conduct simply rude,
And lectured others on their morals,
Preached of Sodom in the corals–
This Jerry Falwell of the waves
Would be the one who misbehaves!
The squid who do their moral duty
Join the swarm and shake their booty!
It’s good, and not just glamorous,
When squid are polyamorous,
For in the moral code of shellfish,
Rule number one is “Don’t be selfish”.
Yeah, but this is akin to a geriatric orgy since they’re older squid, right? Now if it were younger squid… hubba hubba.
“Fish” is just referencing a kind.
Just a joke
For some reason I’m reminded of the 1980s.
“Now if it were younger squid… hubba hubba.”
(It doesn’t have to make sense, its a joke and I’m very tired.)
Cuttlefish: once again, kudos.
Utterly fascinating and beautiful videography. The Cousteau family are definitely still in the game. When I see what can be produced by a French (who a-hole Americans constantly berate) military-science consortium (Jacque was an Admiral in the French Navy) it just makes me sick to think of our military mis-adventures. The French provide such a contrast to how our country could act.
That one squid in the far left of the third shot is REALLY HOT!!
God, I wish I could be one of them. Soooo hot.
This post isn’t about French/American relations or how much the country I live in sucks on a scale of 1-to-10, chuck.
PZ: I almost cried. I really almost cried. :/ *fist wave* See what you’re doing to us! YOU’RE MAKING US CARE!
Squid, the Errol Flynns of the sea. Cuttlefish, you truly represent the pinnacle of human achievement.
You are a rascal, Cuttlefish. A damned clever one. I can think of no higher praise right now.
I prefer Cephalopodopedophile, for sheer length and awkwardness.
What sort of protection is there for the eggs? It seems like a lot of free food around the egg bed could be a bad idea, unless the dead squid are tastier…
So now we understand the tragedy of Dr Zoidberg’s people.
Oh, and yeah: Cuttlefish rules OK.
From the video, at the very end:
“…and the cycle will begin again.”
That’s the point. As sad as this appears to us mere mortal humans, death is always the final act of life. In my Humanist philosophy, there is nothing to be feared about death, nor is there any overwhelming reason to grieve, although certainly we do grieve when a loved one dies, and appropriately so. It’s a natural human emotion to feel loss, to feel that something beautiful has been taken away from us. But when conducting a secular memorial service, I remind those attending that without death life could not go on. If we were were immortal and kept reproducing, our species (and probably our planet itself) would have long ago gone extinct through unsustainability. On the other hand, if we were immortal and did not reproduce, it is not idle speculation to ask “how soon then would life become so boring that we would end up desiring death above all else, yet it ever remained unattainable?” To live forever, with no new human life coming into the world with new ideas and inventions, would be hell to me. A life of eternity without children? How could I care about living, about life itself? If immortal, what could we possibly have to measure the precious gift of life against?
We die so that our children can live. We die so that “…the cycle will begin again.” These squid live only a couple of years. Most of the time humans live for decades, sometimes over a century, sadly sometimes only a day or less. Some trees live for thousands of years. Yet eventually every living thing will, and must, die so that life can go on.
Lovely, and sad indeed, both at the same time and yet in wonderful balance of measure. Life and death are but measures of the grand natural world we inhabit. As Ingersoll noted “The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now.”
“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.”
-Richard Dawkin’s Unweaving the Rainbow
Dying shortly after mating is a not uncommon trait for animals (and many plants too, I guess) that don’t rear their young.
“It’s the last thing they do: one huge orgy of mating, and then they collapse, spent and dying.”
Remind you of anyone…?
Damn. That is so totally how I want to go. Maybe when it’s my time, I’ll be able to find a nice Orgy Hospice.
Beautiful–thanks for sharing. DH and I often joke that we plan to go simultaneously while making love at the age of, oh, 100 or so, so sign us up for that orgy hospice too.
Ah. Tentacle porn.
You might have a future as a hentai director, PZ!
Death by snu-snu!!
Poignant, yes. Sad, no. Forrest Prince has it right — life and death are merely stages of the journey.
Ah, Cuttlefish, OM. Just when I think that it is impossible for you to excel beyond your last offering, you smack me down.
From Roger McGough, 1967: “A Young Man’s Death”
Let me die a youngman’s death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death
When I’m 73
and in constant good humour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an all night party
Or when I’m 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber’s chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides
Or when I’m 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece…but one
Let me die a youngman’s death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
‘what a nice way to go’ death
Sounds ideal to me, I’d like to not be around afterwards to have to look after the kids. No more night feeds, no more toddler tantrums, no more food flung into the furtherest reaches of the house, no more pooey nappies…..sigh, I can only dream.
weemaryanne at #30, thank you for your kind comment.
Here’s another way I look at life and death. (author unknown):
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave, safely,
in a well-preserved body,
but rather to come skidding in sideways,
totally worn out,
“Holy Shit! What a ride!” “
“Live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse”.
– Nick Romano in the novel Knock On Any Door” by Willard MOtely  and played in the 1949 movie of the same name by John Derek(later Bo’s beau). Directed by Nicholas Ray, who went on to direct James Dean.
– and heard frequently in Beserkeley circa 1969
The spare eggs make up part of the plankton supply
it’s all part of the miracle of nature
Better to have spawned and lost…
But really, why aren’t there more predators interfering with the action here, and cleaning up the aftermath? I mean, if we could predict it, why can’t a school of tuna? Few night feeders there? (forgive if answer is mentioned in vid: can’t listen at work)
Fry: So you have to choose between life without sex and a hideous, gruesome death?
Dr. Zoidberg: Yes.
Fry: Man, tough call.
The French provide such a contrast to how our country could act.
Gee, Chuck, tell us about how the French act.
Would a standard issue French person manage to turn a thread about mating sea creatures into an unprovoked, pointless, raving anti-American diatribe, thus making a complete and utter assclown of himself?
What disturbs me is that the squid mate near the surface, then head down to deposit their eggs…which means the ones that are caught are caught before they’re done producing the next generation. That is the sad part, not that the squid die after mating.
Of course, the fishermen say that the squid yields are better than ever. Is that because there are more squid, or because the fishermen are getting better at getting them all? And if there are fewer baby squid, what effect does that have on fish that eat baby squid?
Beautiful, beautiful squid.
I was jarred by an anthropocentric statement near the beginning, something like “the squid are located in a fishery near the Channel Islands…” Huh? The squid are located in a fishery? Surely the fishery is located where the squid are (were, and will be).
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