A 63-year-old woman became ‘pregnant’ with 12 baby squid after eating calamari, according to a claim in a bio-tech report. The real-life ‘octo-mum’, from South Korea, was eating a portion of cooked whole squid when she felt a sharp pain in her mouth. The bizarre claim has been made in a scientific paper from the National Center for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda, Maryland.
The lady told doctors that she could feel something in her mouth which they described as ‘bug-like organisms’. When examined, the doctors found ‘baby cephalopods’ attached to her mouth. These are small pods, covered in a cement-like material to make them stick.
Inside the pods is an ‘ejaculatory apparatus’ and sperm – with the apparatus expelling the sperm quite forcefully. After the victim of the ‘attack’ was hospitalised, doctors removed the baby cephalopods from her gums, tongue and cheek. It was only then that the pods were formally identified as ‘squid spermatophores.’
The Center’s paper says: ‘She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately. She complained of a pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity. ‘Twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva [gums] were completely removed, along with the affected mucosa. ‘On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.’ According to Science 2.0, a spermatophore is similar to a cup of semen. The site adds that there is still mystery around how spermatophores are implanted into the skin. A similar case was reported in December last year when a woman in Japan suffered severe pains in her mouth after eating raw squid. She took the remaining piece of squid with her to the Tosei General Hospital, the NCBI reports, and sperm bags were removed. Incidents involving the impregnation of human mouths appear to be confined to the Far East where, generally, more raw fish is eaten. When squid is prepared in the west, internal organs are removed meaning there is no risk of eating spermatophores. Danna Staaf, a squid enthusiast from Science 2.0, said: ‘The skin on your hands, and most of the rest of your body, is much too thick to get stuck. ‘I’ve probably had hundreds of spermatophores ejaculate on my fingers and never felt a sting.’ According to the Biological Bulletin ‘Spermatophores are either transferred to the female by the male’s hectocotylus, a specialised arm, or by a long penis, which is present in species that lack hectocotyli. ‘After being discharged from the spermatophore in the spermatophoric reaction, the sperm mass is encased in a thin covering, with the cement body at one end. ‘This discharged structure, the spermatangium, may attach to the skin of the female or be deeply embedded in her skin or muscle.’ The reproduction of deep-sea squids is still something of a mystery simply because their habitat is hard to get to.