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Journal of Experimental Biology








Squid paralarvae (hatchlings) rely predominantly on a pulsed jet for locomotion, distinguishing them from the majority of aquatic locomotors at low/intermediate Reynolds numbers (Re), which employ oscillatory/undulatory modes of propulsion. Although squid paralarvae may delineate the lower size limit of biological jet propulsion, surprisingly little is known about the hydrodynamics and propulsive efficiency of paralarval jetting within the intermediate Re realm. To better understand paralarval jet dynamics, we used digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV) and high-speed video to measure bulk vortex properties ( e. g. circulation, impulse, kinetic energy) and other jet features [ e. g. average and peak jet velocity along the jet centerline (Uj and Ujmax, respectively), jet angle, jet length based on the vorticity and velocity extents (Lω and LV, respectively), jet diameter based on the distance between vorticity peaks (Dω), maximum funnel diameter (DF), average and maximum swimming speed (U and Umax, respectively)] in free-swimming Doryteuthis pealeii paralarvae (1.8 mm dorsal mantle length) (Resquid=25-90). Squid paralarvae spent the majority of their time station holding in the water column, relying predominantly on a frequent, high-volume, vertically directed jet. During station holding, paralarvae produced a range of jet structures from spherical vortex rings ( Lω/Dω=2.1, LV/DF=13.6) to more elongated vortex ring structures with no distinguishable pinch-off (Lω/Dω= 4.6, LV/DF=36.0). To swim faster, paralarvae increased pulse duration and Lω/Dω, leading to higher impulse but kept jet velocity relatively constant. Paralarvae produced jets with low slip, i.e. ratio of jet velocity to swimming velocity (Uj/U or Ujmax/Umax), and exhibited propulsive efficiency [ηpd=74.9 +/- 8.83% (+/- s.d.) for deconvolved data] comparable with oscillatory/ undulatory swimmers. As slip decreased with speed, propulsive efficiency increased. The detection of high propulsive efficiency in paralarvae is significant because it contradicts many studies that predict low propulsive efficiency at intermediate Re for inertial forms of locomotion.


Note: Erratum included

Original Publication Citation

Bartol, I. K., Krueger, P. S., Stewart, W. J., & Thompson, J. T. (2009). Pulsed jet dynamics of squid hatchlings at intermediate Reynolds numbers. Journal of Experimental Biology, 212(10), 1506-1518. doi:10.1242/jeb.026948