Starting in April or May of each year, we have seen large numbers of squid gather in the shallow part of our house reef to mate and lay eggs. We have seen this only this year, as it is happening right under our jetty! But, probably previous years it was happening too. So far, we have not seen this in any other of the dive sites we visit. Spawning has been most intense in May (and wikipedia says it will / may continue thru June), who knows.
These spawning areas are close to shore and not very deep. In our case, this is happening in an area of branching acropora corals at 14mts – 19mts. The spawning is happening like this: about 30-50 squid play through the water in a frenzy, the evil flashing red to attract the females, then passing sperm to the females using specialized tentacles.
Each female squid lays from 4,000 to 9,000 translucent, white, sausage-shaped eggs directly on the acropora branching corals. The female is always laying eggs in an area where other squid have already laid their eggs. After, the acropora corals look like they are being covered with anemone-like clusters of squid eggs. One observer has described the sight as “a field of swaying pom poms.”
It is known that squid will die shortly after mating These dead and dying squid provide easy pickings for gulls, and sharks (this has been our case here in the house reef; we have seen black tip sharks hunting squid).
The newly laid squid eggs will hatch after three to twelve weeks (depending on the water temperature), releasing tiny larval squid into the ocean currents.We are keeping an eye on these eggs, but not hatching yet!