SQUID
Watch

 

 

SquidWatch

 

It isn't unusual to find squid eggs stranded on the beach. Although as they closely resemble large strings of mucus, we can just walk by without given them a second glance.

 

A closer look reveals that each string of eggs appears to have a structure and chambers within it.

 

The female squid can lay about 20,000 at a time and she attaches them securely to rocks or weeds. Stormy waters, however, can mean that they become detached. Once detached they can be damaged by being flung about in the water or beached on the sand. At this point, the squid have no chance of surviving.

 

From being laid, squid eggs can take around eight weeks to hatch.

 

Our eggs were found washed up on the beach on December 19th - we'll call this Day One although there was no knowing how old they actually were then.

 

 

SquidWatch
DAY 1

 

I carried the entire clutch of eggs home in a bucket of sea water and then suspended them in an aquarium where they had an air stone and new sea water every day so as to replicate sea conditions as best I could.

 

And waited...

 

SquidWatch
DAY 15

 

Eyes first appeared!

 

SquidWatch
DAY 19

 

More and more pairs of eyes

 

SquidWatch
DAY 21

 

It is possible to see a dark spot appear on the body of some of the squidlets - an ink spot.

 

SquidWatch
DAY 22

 

The egg capsules under a microscope.

 

SquidWatch
DAY 22

 

The first two hatchlings appeared!

Overnight, a dozen squidlets hatched. Following expert advice, I took these straight to the sea as it would have been impossible to keep them fed in my small aquarium (they eat lots of plankton).

 

SquidWatch
DAY 24

 

 

SquidWatch
DAY 25

 

Every morning from Day 25 to Day 35 there hundreds of hatchlings that had emerged overnight. Every day, they all went into the sea hopefully getting the same chance that they would have had if their eggs had stayed attached in the sea.

 

 

SquidWatch
DAY 27

 

In the morning, it was noticeable that the new hatchlings spent time lying on or swimming close to the eggs. Did the eggs provide nourishment or shelter perhaps?

 

SquidWatch
DAY 34

 

One of the egg capsules became detached from its string of eggs. The tiny squidlet could still be seen inside.

 

SquidWatch
DAY 35

 

By chance, I happened to catch one of the squidlets - only a few hours old - squirting out ink after a close encounter with another squidlet.

On some of the squidlets it was possible to see ink 'leaking out'.

 

SquidWatch
DAY 36

 

After seeing hundreds of new squidlets on each of the past ten days, it was strange to see only 23 (it may have been 25, they are very difficult to count!) new squidlets that morning.

 

SquidWatch
DAY 37

 

On the morning of Day 37, there were ony three new squidlets. 

Each squidlet is about 5mm long.

 

SquidWatch
DAY 38

 

There were no new squidlets on Day 38 or on any morning afterwards.

 

In total there were 15 nights of hatching from the single clutch of eggs.

 

One of the SquidWatch squidlets under a microscope. I do have to confess at this point that I made up the word 'squidlet' these hatchlings are actually known as paralarvae - which just isn't appealing as a word...

 

A juvenile squid found washed up on the beach.

 

The common squid (Loligo vulgaris), is remarkably common around the UK although most of us don't get to see them them unless we are divers.

 

They grow to around 20cm long (longer in warmer waters) and can live for two or three years. The male does not usually live long after mating.

 

Source WikiCommons, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Attribution: © Hans Hillewaert

For more on squid, octopus and cuttlefish (aka cephalopods), please click above.

 

For more on eggs found on beaches and in rockpools, please click below.

CRABS

 

 

WORMS

 

 

JELLYFISH

 

 

EGGS

 

 

SEAWEEDS

 

 

BIRDS

 

 

INSECTS

 

 

SHELLS

 

 

URCHINS/STARFISH

 

 

TRACKS

 

 

 BARNACLES

 

 

 

STONES

FISH

SEABEANS

 

 

 

PLASTIC STUFF

 

 

GLASS STUFF

METAL STUFF

 

WOODEN STUFF