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Field observations on the behavioural ecology of the stout bobtail squid Rossia macrosoma (Cephalopoda: Sepiolidae) from Scottish waters

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Jackson, Andy 
Rickard, Chris 
Skea, Mark 
Cooke, Gavan M. 


Abstract: Bobtail squids (Cephalopoda: Sepiolidae) are emerging model organisms for a wide range of genetic, anatomical, neurophysiological and behavioural studies. However, the knowledge about their behavioural ecology is scarce and derives mainly from laboratory-based studies, whereas observations from the wild are rare. Here, we use photo and video footage collected through the Cephalopod Citizen Science Project to describe the hunting, burying, mating and spawning behaviour of the stout bobtail squid Rossia macrosoma (Delle Chiaje, 1830) from Scottish waters. Based on our long-term observations, we were able to determine a spawning period from August to November based on different behavioural traits for this species. Furthermore, we observed R. macrosoma to be able to adhere a sand grain layer (‘sand coat’) to its dorsal mantle. This behavioural feature has only been reported for two genera of the sepiolid subfamily Sepiolinae so far, and therefore represents the first of this kind for the subfamily Rossiinae. Lastly, we identified a local sea urchin species as an active predator of egg batches of R. macrosoma and discussed the cryptic egg laying behaviour of this bobtail squid species in terms of its protective traits to avoid egg predation.



Short Communication, Citizen science, Egg predation, Reproductive behaviour, Sand coat, Spawning season

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Springer Berlin Heidelberg