everything we see out here is fairly incredible, but this morning we saw something especially cool: a mother gonatid squid brooding her eggs.  this behavior was first reported in 2006 and it made quite a splash, since extremely little is known about reproduction and egg-laying in deep-sea squid. shallow-water squid tend to lay egg ‘mops’ with several hundred fingers of a few large eggs (jellybean sized), attached to the bottom, or to kelp, but the egg masses of open-water squids are virtually unknown, and those that have been reported seem to be large, free-floating masses of different shapes (like this 2m-diameter ball for Nototodarus, a commercial species in nz, or these strange coils—a bit like the water tentacle from the abyss!—for the diamond-back squid, Thysanoteuthis). so observing female squid carrying the eggs in their arms was pretty sensational, never mind the fact that these eggs were laid in a single large sheet, infused with ink, which the mother likely holds for months (until they hatch like baby stars—watch the video! it’s worth it).  during brooding she waves the sheet gently to keep fresh aerated water flowing over it, and she likely does not eat again once the eggs have been laid, since her mouth is behind the egg mass.  spawning is the final life event for almost all cephalopods, so once the eggs are out, the end is nigh, but how nigh is one of the still-unknown pieces of information, especially for brooders.  in any case, we were extremely lucky to see her, and although the frame grabs are again of lower quality than i’d like, you’ll get the idea.

Gonatus 1

Gonatus 2

Gonatus 5

Gonatus 3

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