First video of squid sex reveals deep-sea Kama Sutra

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Think deep -sea squid have sex in the missionary position? Now the first video capturing a pair in the act is revealing the unexpected details of cephalopod coupling in the abyss.

The clip, filmed by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) submersible in the Gulf of Mexico last year, allowed Michael Vecchione from the Smithsonian Institution and colleagues to observe for the first time how a male squid uses its penis to transfer packets of sperm. They were surprised at the sexual position the pair adopted: the male was upside down on top of the female and back to front, with his arms around her head. There are a few possible reasons for this arrangement: it could be out of comfort (for the female), or to allow the male to access the best spot for his sperm, but it's also thought to prevent the female from grabbing and perhaps eating her partner.

As the male holds his partner in what appears to be a firm grip, the video shows the penis extending out to make contact with the female's back. Although a package of sperm is usually deposited during the process, a transfer isn't visible in this clip. Squid caught by trawlers have revealed that the sperm mass is usually somehow implanted deep into the female's tissues, in some species randomly all over her body but in others at the base of the arms. The packet remains in place until her eggs are ready to be fertilised.

Many squid species use a modified arm, instead of a penis, to deliver sperm. It's very rare to come across a pair of mating squid.

If you enjoyed this post, watch a male crayfish get turned on by urine or see the first camera trap footage of Asian elephants having sex .

New Scientist (click link for steamy squid porn)