Sure, marathon three-hour sex sessions may SOUND like a good idea, but if you’re a 2.8-inch long cephalopod, the nonstop boning may tire you out so much that you can’t feed or protect yourself, says a new study about the sex life of the southern dumpling squid.
“Dumpling squid live fast and die young, mating with multiple partners during their yearlong lives,” LiveScience reports. They can get it on for up to three hours at a time, leaving participants so exhausted they can barely find food, escape baddies, or go at it again.
Franklin and her colleagues put a group of squid through an endurance test. One day, they had the squid swim against the current, measuring the time they could keep on pushing through. The next day, they put males and females together. Like Olympic athletes, the squid immediately looked around and figured out who to hook up with. Then, like Olympic athletes, they were tested physically, dumped after completing their marathon sex sessions into the swimming tank. The post-coital squid could hold out for only half as long as the sexually unsatisfied squid.
Obviously a species can survive all right if it constantly humps itself to death — I mean, some male insects get their heads chewed off after a single insemination. As long as their genes do the job, it’s not a big deal on the population level. But individual dumpling squid might benefit from a little sex ed, or at least a (NSFW) lesson from Tenacious D.