Skip to content Skip to navigation

Grouping reduces the metabolic demand of a social squid

Group of California market squid Doryteuthis opalescensin captivity. Photo: Diana Li
Mar 8 2019

Posted In:


Benjamin P. Burford, Nicholas Carey, William F. Gilly, Jeremy A. Goldbogen


Many squids are social cephalopods and demonstrate exceptionally high metabolicrates. However, all prior investigations of metabolism in social cephalopods have utilized individual animals. We measured oxygen consumption of the social squid Doryteuthis opalescens both in groups and with solitary individuals to examine the influence of grouping on energy demand andperformance under hypoxic conditions. On average, the presence of conspecifics reduced routinemetabolic rate by 21% but did not influence the critical oxygen partial pressure below which astable rate of oxygen uptake is not maintained. In addition, displays of chromatic behaviors associated  with  relaxation  were  observed  more  frequently  in  groups,  whereas  behaviors  associated with  stress  or  vigilance  were  observed  more  frequently  in  solitary  individuals.  We  hypothesize that through a potential reduction in energy consumption, grouping may be relevant in allowing social squids to exploit habitats with marginal oxygen availability that may impose a physiological constraint.