International Cephalopod Awareness Day–Take Two

In further honor of ICA Day, I offer up my Festival of the Freshwater Squid, in its original form (the version in Secret Life is shorter/different). I got a few complaints from cephalopod experts on this one, along the lines of, “This is a tough profession to begin with–why do you have to make up squid.” A Sebring newspaper also interviewed me about it.


Within 24 hours of the male constructing its “bubble tent,” a female squid will appear, circling in the water over the male for several minutes before either investigating further or swimming off into the distance. (At any stage of the mating rituals, up to and including coitus, the female may break off the engagement and swim away.) If the female investigates further, she will first hover directly over the male and then gently rub off the bubbles on its mantle and head. As soon as she does so, the male squid’s light show ends and he begins to pulse a deep, rich green. The female, silver rippling up and down her body, then presses up against the male’s mantle and head, wriggling the fins of her mantle as if to tickle the male squid. Less than a minute later, she places her arms and tentacles over the arms and tentacles of the male. They both change color to pure silver. This color change concludes the first phase of the mating ritual.