Squid Have Marathon Sex Until They're Too Tired To Swim Away From Predators And Then Die

The goings-on of human beings have been deeply saddening this week, so let's just go underwater for a hot second. Is that cool with everyone? OK, great.

In order to better answer one of nature's most pressing questions—specifically, "What happens when squid fuck? TELL ME, SCIENCE!"—researchers at the University of Melbourne studied the swimming stamina of dumpling squid during a period of abstinence, and then during a period of energetic copulation. Which, by the way, lasts for three hours and goes something like:

The male restrains the female, pumping jets of water into her mantle and jet, releasing ink and changing color repeatedly.

In other words:

After they were done, the scientists forced the post-coital squid to swim to exhaustion in a flume. As it turns out, without a solid 30 minutes of recovery time, the species' endurance is shot thanks to an overactive production of anaerobic metabolism—it contains lactate, which contributes to muscle fatigue. Their ability to swim is cut in half, leaving them more vulnerable to predators and temporarily unable to forage for food.

"The cost of energetic mating." Now we know.

'Three hours of sex leave squid too exhausted to swim much' [Los Angeles Times]

Photo via Le Do/Shutterstock