Spermatophore dimorphism in the chokka squid Loligo reynaudii associated with alternative mating tactics

Research paper by Iwata Y, Sauer W, Sato N, et al.

Indexed on: 09 Jun '18Published on: 14 Feb '18Published in: The Journal of molluscan studies


Chokka squid (Loligo reynaudii) have characteristic alternative mating tactics: ‘consort’ males temporarily pair with and guard a female and transfer spermatophores onto her oviduct opening inside the mantle cavity, whereas ‘sneaker’ males rush towards a mating pair and transfer spermatophores onto the female’s buccal membrane near her sperm storage organ. Differences in mating behaviours and their related sperm-storage sites clearly constrain the fertilization process and can drive dimorphism between consort and sneaker males. The presence and character of male dimorphism has not yet been fully examined in this species, but consort males are commonly much larger than sneaker males. We observed clear dimorphism in spermatangia (the sperm mass ejaculated from the spermatophore), consistently associated with the two alternative sperm storage sites on the female’s body. Observations of spermatophores stored in the Needham’s sac of mature males confirmed that small males produce ‘sneaker-type’ spermatangia whereas larger males produce ‘consort-type’ spermatangia, and no individuals possessed both types. Therefore, by association, the mating tactic adopted (including the sperm deposition site used) by individual males can be determined from observation of their spermatangial type, without requiring direct behavioural observation of mating. This ability to infer information about mating tactic will improve our understanding of the reproductive system and mating dynamics in this species.