Squid can hear, scientists have confirmed. But they don’t detect the changes in pressure associated with sound waves, like we do. They have another, more primitive, technique for listening: They sense the motion generated by sound waves.
“They are detecting themselves moving back and forth with the sound wave,” said T. Aran Mooney, a marine biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. He compared a squid in the ocean being jostled by a sound wave to a piece of fruit suspended in Jell-O. “If you jiggle the Jell-O, the whole block of Jell-O is moving with the fruit.”
In a study published in October in the The Journal of Experimental Biology, Mooney and his colleagues confirmed that longfin squid (Loligo pealeii), which are also a popular seafood meal, can indeed detect sound at low frequencies. Now, the researchers are working to better understand how this hearing mechanism works.