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Squid Soiree by Ralph Pace (12) More files...
Ralph Pace dips below the surface of the Pacific Ocean to capture thousands of California Market Squids returning to Monterey Bay in huge numbers to copulate and deposit egg capsules on the seafloor. Typically the adults die shortly after spawning so this is the time they are harvested by local fisherfolk.

Females encapsulate hundreds of eggs in a sheath that is made of many layers of protein. Bacteria grow between the layers and may serve as an antibiotic for fungal infection. Males deposit spermatophores into females during mating embraces which may last for several hours. The eggs are fertilized as females release them in about 20 egg cases per individual, with each case containing about 200 individual eggs.

Females insert the egg capsules into the sand with a sticky substance that anchors them in place so that the ocean surge can ventilate them. Some egg beds can cover acres of the ocean floor and dominant males are known to stick around and protect the beds!
Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
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00644172 Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
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00644169 Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
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00644165 Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) males attempting to mate with female, Monterey Bay, California
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00644161 Squid (Loligo opalescens) males attempting to mate with female, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) pair mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
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00644164 Squid (Loligo opalescens) pair mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
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00644163 Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) male clasping female for mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
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00644166 Squid (Loligo opalescens) male clasping female for mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, Monterey Bay, California
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00644171 Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
00644167
00644167 Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
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00644170 Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
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00644168 Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California
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00644162 Squid (Loligo opalescens) group mating, with egg cases on ocean floor, Monterey Bay, California© Ralph Pace
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