One-button games, pt. 3

Gay giant-squid sex

History will record this week as having ushered in a particularly fabulous crop of giant-squid news. A few days ago, we saw the first ever live video of a giant squid. And now comes another study in which Spanish scientists examined several giant squid washed ashore — and found that the males had been inseminated with sperm.

The explanation beggars the modesty of my otherwise PG-rated blog, but here we go: Apparently, male giant squid have these totally ginormous penises. They’re nearly as long as their arms, and they possess the intensity “of a fire hose,” as the scientists write. The squid evolved these massive members because female giant squid are about 1/3 bigger than the males, and they don’t much like being inseminated, so they tend to fight back. The sizeable length allows the male to have sex from a safe distance and get the hell outta Dodge before being eaten alive. This is all the trickier because mating takes place during enormous, multisquid orgies.

But the result is that squid sex is pretty violent, and mistakes can happen. As the scientists told The Scotsman:

It seems that co-ordinating eight legs, two feeding tentacles and a huge penis, whilst fending off an irate female, is a bit too much to ask, and one of the two males stranded on the Spanish coast had accidentally injected himself with sperm packages in the legs and body. And this does not seem to have been an isolated incident since two of the eight males that had stranded in the north-east Atlantic before had also accidentally inseminated themselves.

Even better, some of the males appear to have inseminated each other. That’s right: Gay giant-squid sex. Accidental gay giant-squid sex.

(Thanks to Brian Corcoran for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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