Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, University of Washington
San Juan Island, Washington
Archival Pigment Print
Squids generally have a hands-off style of parenting: Mothers lay their fertilized eggs on the ocean floor or in floating masses and leave them to develop unattended. In 2000, biologists reported the first known case of a species with parental care: black-eyed squid females holding large, gelatinous masses of embryos in their arms. Adults of the species are normally found at 500 to 800 meters (1,600 to 2,600 feet) depth, but the brooding mothers were observed much deeper, at 1,500 to 2,500 meters (4,900 to 8,200 feet). Evidence suggests that a female carries the mass for up to nine months (during which time she can’t feed), moving inshore as hatching time approaches. Young members of the deepwater species, like this one collected right off a dock, are found in surface waters.