Alternative male mating behaviors dependent on relative body size in captive oval squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana (Cephalopoda, Loliginidae).

Research paper by Toshifumi T Wada, Takeshi T Takegaki, Tohru T Mori, Yutaka Y Natsukari

Indexed on: 01 Jul '05Published on: 01 Jul '05Published in: Zoological science


We observed the reproductive behavior of the oval squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana in captivity. The male used three different mating behaviors: male-parallel (MP), male-upturned (MU) and sneaking. Male competition over females frequently occurred before and during the female egg-laying period, and the outcome of most fights depended on male body size. Larger males guarded their partners from other males and performed MP mating during the egg-laying period of the paired females. In contrast, there was no pairing and mate guarding in MU mating and sneaking, which were adopted by smaller subordinate males as alternative tactics outside female egg-laying period and during the period, respectively. MP matings were 95% successful, but more than half of MU matings were unsuccessful. Higher mating success in MP mating was achieved through pairing, whereas males in MU mating were less successful because mating attempts without pair formation were often foiled by escape of the female. Sneaking was successful in all cases but occurred less frequently. Spermatophores were attached at the opening of the oviduct in MP mating, whereas they were attached around the female buccal membrane in MU mating and sneaking. Considering the route of egg transportation, higher fertilization success can be expected in MP mating because of the advantageous location of the attached spermatophores. Our results suggest that MP mating is used by larger, paired males during the female egg-laying period, and that MU mating and sneaking are alternative tactics adopted by smaller, subordinate males. These alternative mating behaviors would be conditional strategy dependent on relative body size, because some individual males displayed both MP and MU mating behaviors.