Polar Biology

, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 1319–1328 | Cite as

Mating tactics in the sub-Antarctic deep-sea squid Onykia ingens (Cephalopoda: Onychoteuthidae)

  • H. J. T. HovingEmail author
  • A. I. Arkhipkin
  • V. V. Laptikhovsky
  • J. E. A. R. Marian
Original Paper


The behavior of polar deep-sea nekton is very poorly known. To obtain insight into mating behavior of the abundant and ecologically important sub-Antarctic deep-sea squid Onykia ingens, our goals were to (1) quantify spermatophore production; (2) determine the preferred location for spermatangia deposition; (3) investigate whether male and female O. ingens mate with multiple mates; and (4) discuss the location of implanted spermatangia in light of mating behavior and egg fertilization. Toward this end, we examined male and female O. ingens specimens from Falkland Island and New Zealand waters. Male O. ingens store up to 198 spermatophores (mean 103 ± 61; n = 12) in their reproductive system, which are produced over a period of considerable somatic growth (200–400 mm ML), and which may have a considerable size range. Males insert their long extendible terminal organ in the mantle cavity of the female, potentially through the funnel, to deposit spermatophores in one or more of four regions on the female’s body. Most implanted spermatangia (52.5 %) were found in the funnel region, but many were also found inside the mantle cavity closer to the oviducts. Males with longer terminal organs therefore may be able to position closer to the oviducts where fertilization chances are higher than for spermatangia located in the funnel region. The number of implanted spermatangia per individual female (4–60, mean 29 ± 20; n = 24), the multiregional spermatangia deposition, and the different outer appearance of spermatangia, suggested that females have multiple mating events. Since males produce more spermatophores (up to 200) than the number of spermatangia in one region (<60), it is likely that males too mate with more than one female. We show how quantitative assessment of reproductive characteristics can provide insight into the reproductive behavior of deep-sea species for which in situ observations are currently lacking.


Cephalopoda Onykia ingens Deep sea Reproduction Mating Spermatophore 



Dr. Kat Bolstad and Dr. Bruce Marshall are thanked for their help with access to specimens of O. ingens accessioned in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand. Financial support for this study came from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (HJTH), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) through a Rubicon Grant (#825.09.016) to HJTH, and by a Grant (CP1218) to HJTH of the Cluster of Excellence 80 “The Future Ocean”. “The Future Ocean” is funded within the framework of the Excellence Initiative by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) on behalf of the German federal and state governments. JEARM acknowledges funding provided by the São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP (Grant # 2013/02653-1) and CNPq (Grant # 477233/2013-9), and the support of the Research Center for Marine Biodiversity (NP-BioMar).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. J. T. Hoving
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. I. Arkhipkin
    • 2
  • V. V. Laptikhovsky
    • 3
  • J. E. A. R. Marian
    • 4
  1. 1.GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Falkland Islands Fisheries DepartmentStanleyFalkland Islands
  3. 3.CEFASLowestoftUK
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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