1. Sili says

    Damn! The confessionals are gonna get busy this Sunday.

    Hawt! No, I do not have a cot/caught merger.

  2. Patricia says

    Thanks PZ, the colors on these creatures continues to amaze and delight me.
    Since you were capable of posting this morning I’ll assume prayers for your comsumtion by fireballs, brimstone & lightening bolts failed once again. *grin*

  3. rob says

    PZ, i just went to the Discovery Bay exhibit last week at the zoo in Apple Valley. They had a couple cuttlefish in an aquarium. I had never seen a cephalpod in real life before. Not many lakes in Minnesota carry them…

    I swear that they were studying *me* as I was studying them. As I leaned closer, waves of brown coursed over their bodies. I didn’t realize they could change color so fast. amazing chromatophores!

    my wife commented that they looked like little cthulhus.

    now that I think about it, their gaze *was* a little maelevolent.

  4. llewelly says


    my wife commented that they looked like little cthulhus.
    now that I think about it, their gaze *was* a little maelevolent.

    Soon you too will join us in our worship of them.

  5. Matt7895 says

    “I swear that they were studying *me* as I was studying them.”

    Indeed, I have heard they are inquisitive, intelligent creatures.

  6. itwasntme says

    A glance can be deceiving. My tour of the Cephalopod Center down in Galveston convinced me they’re only in it for the food, like the rest of us.

  7. Go Amie says

    Why do the cracker posts have orders of magnitude more comments than the squid posts? Something is wrong here!

  8. Ragutis says

    Aaaaahhhhh… nice and quiet in here.

    Love the colors on this week’s cephalocritters.

    PZ, have you ever tried your hand at keeping a cephalopod? I’ve heard that there’s a few cuttles that an experienced aquarist can manage without too many problems.

  9. Vidar says

    How long will it be before someone accuses PZ of posting tentacle sex fetish material on his blog? ;)

    cool picture. Do the different colors have any meaning for the lovely couple?

  10. wazza says

    Ragutis: I’ve been to several lectures by Dr Steve O’Shea about the care and feeding of giant squid, which he’s been working on for years, working up from more common species. Even the material the aquarium is made out of can poison them. Not really something for anyone who isn’t already a dedicated aquarist.

  11. Ichthyic says

    Not really something for anyone who isn’t already a dedicated aquarist.

    it really does depend on the cephalopod in question.

    some, like giant squid, are mesopelagic, and most certainly not used to having any walls to deal with; I’ve noticed similar problems (physically) with many pelagic critters, from jellyfish to tunas. Moreover, IIRC, O’shea is trying to raise them from larvae – very, very, difficult for just about any species, let alone one we know so little about.

    that said, many of the octopuses can thrive in captivity, some squid seem to do OK, and many reef-dwelling cuttlefish do fine and dandy.

    I used to keep octopuses in captivity on a regular basis, and we used to keep large numbers of squid (L. opalescens) alive for long periods at the Monterey Bay aquarium, and the Steinhart aquarium (in San Fran).

    I would recommend trying local species, if you can catch them, and have the right kind of aquarium (refrigerated for temperate, heated for tropical). The main key seems to be clean water. They really don’t seem to do well without either continuous clean water being pumped in, or regular water replacements.

    You’ll be tempted to overfeed them, but don’t. they are very messy eaters, and can quickly make a mess of things in your tank.

    for an average size squid/octopus (say around 10-12 inches), something on the order of about half an anchovy once a day is good. They really love crustaceans (even squid). they will also try their hand at eating all of your other denizens in the tank, so be aware of that. If well fed, this should not be too much of a problem, but if keeping octopus, crustaceans would be a bad choice for a tank mate. Make sure you have a tight lid on the tank for octopus, as they often will attempt to escape, thinking there might be another “tidepool” nearby.

    all that said, most species will only live a year or so in captivity (they don’t live but 1-3 years in the wild, for the most part).

    they are indeed very interesting aquarium pets, and while I haven’t tried training squid, octopus are actually trainable to a decent extent, and I’ve heard cuttlefish are too.

  12. Paguoroidea says

    Wikipedia at has some interesting information about the reproduction of this week’s Friday Cephalopod.

    “Like other cephalopods, the Caribbean Reef Squid, is semelparous, dying after reproducing. Females lay their eggs then die immediately after. The males, however, can fertilize many females in a short period of time before they die. Females lay the eggs in well-protected areas scattered around the reefs. After competing with 2-5 other males, the largest male approaches the female and gently strokes her with his tentacles. At first she may indicate her alarm by flashing a distinct pattern, but the male soon calms her by blowing water at her and jetting gently away. He returns repeatedly until the female accepts him, however the pair may continue this dance or courting for up to an hour. The male then attaches a sticky packet of sperm to the female’s body. As he reaches out with the sperm packet, he displays a pulsating pattern. The female places the packet in her seminal receptacle, finds appropriate places to lay her eggs in small clusters, and then dies.”