Sex at close to 10,000 feet below the ocean's surface happens slowly but frequently for at least some denizens of the deep.
Since these creatures - vampire squid - mate at a different pace than other squid and their related species do, a new study reveals how unique reproductive strategies can be at tremendous ocean depths.
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The new study is published in the latest issue of the journal Current Biology.
"We know very little about deep-sea organisms and their life-cycle patterns, in particular in the water column of the deep sea," lead author Henk-Jan Hoving of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel said in a press release. "The patterns we know from coastal and shallow-water organisms may not apply to deep-sea species."
Vampire squid got their name, not because they feast on blood, but because of their big red eyes and darkly colored cloak-like webbing.
Hoving and his team were going through the vampire squid collections from the 60s and 70s at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, when they noticed something unexpected.