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Attack Squid

March 3, 2011

A newly discovered pheromone instantly sends male squids into a fighting frenzy.



Eight-legged fighting machines…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A newly discovered pheromone, or chemical signal, instantly triggers fighting among male squids. Behavioral ecologist Roger Hanlon of the Marine Biological Laboratory says that females deposit the pheromone on their eggs. Groups of males passing through the area are attracted to the eggs and touch them with their tentacles, which exposes them to the chemical.

ROGER HANLON (Marine Biological Laboratory):

This will get them fighting mad, so to speak, they’ll start competing with one another for females.


He says getting the males to duke it out may help the females choose the best males to mate with.

ROGER HANLON (Marine Biological Laboratory):

There’s a lot of competition for mates. The females are choosy, and they want to choose the strongest, fittest males in evolutionary terms.  Generally the male that wins the fight pairs with the female.



I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.