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Danna StaafRSS Feed of this column.

Cephalopods have been rocking my world since I was in grade school. I pursued them through a BA in marine biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, followed by a PhD dissertation at... Read More »

The fun folks of Nerd Nite San Francisco invited me to straighten out all the hilarious squid sperm news with a mini-talk last Wednesday. I was honored!

Nerd Nite SF: Squid Spermatophore mini-talk by Danna Staaf, 6/20/12 from nerdniteSF on Vimeo.

Honestly, media. *polishes obnoxious academic spectacles* Is it really that difficult to comprehend the difference between "inseminate" and "impregnate"?

On Thursday I reported that a woman's mouth had been inseminated by a squid she was eating. To be specific, squid spermatophores (packages of sperm) implanted themselves into her mucus membranes, and had to be removed by a doctor.
I'm here today to talk about a very strange paper: Penetration of the oral mucosa by parasite-like sperm bags of squid: a case report in a Korean woman.

This study, published in February in the Journal of Parasitology (?!), presents the tale of a woman eating squid who experienced "severe pain" and a "pricking, foreign-body sensation" in her mouth. A doctor found and removed "twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms" from her tongue, cheek, and gums.
Dear squid blog, I am sorry that so many other projects have been keeping me from you lately! My love for squid remains undimmed. Just to prove it, I will share with the world a helpful chart that I drew several years ago and recently unearthed.

The Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) and the purpleback flying squid (Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis) can look very similar. If you're fishing in a location where only one of them lives (like Indonesia for Sthenoteuthis or California for Dosidicus), no problem. But in certain areas of the Pacific Ocean--oh look I have a map--their ranges overlap, so there is confusion. Panic. Mayhem. Which squid is it?

Jonathan Wong, Vancouver Aquarium

HuffPo has some fantastic photos and a video up from the Vancouver Aquarium. The species is Doryteuthis (once was Loligo) opalescens, sometimes called the inshore opalescent squid or market squid.
Usually "No Change in X" doesn't make a very splashy headline, but when the lack of change occurs over 160,000,000 years and X is squid ink, people get excited.

And with good cause. This is the first time that ink from a fossil cephalopod has been analyzed chemically, and it turned out to be indistinguishable from modern cephalopod ink. One hundred and sixty million years. No change.