For us humans, love is one of the most important things in our lives. From a dozen red roses and a kiss under the mistletoe to more modern methods such as heart emojis and dating apps, our lives are dominated by the search for a partner and the symbols of romance. But we’re not the only species to show love and affection for our other halves – it’s surprisingly common for underwater sea creatures as well.
Seahorses are some of the most fascinating marine life out there, and their mating habits are just as charming. Every morning, the male and female seahorse dance together, to reinforce their bond of commitment.
They change colour as they move together during their morning routine, often with their tails entwined. This dance helps each seahorse assess the other’s reproductive status while strengthening their bond with each other.
And for seahorses, dance is an important part of reproduction itself. During their courting period, they dance together over the course of several days, swimming side by side to mirror each other’s movements. This results in the male seahorse becoming pregnant with up to 1,500 babies for around 45 days – by which point the female has produced enough eggs to go through the whole process again.
These beautiful aquatic beings are even more monogamous than humans and are almost always spotted in pairs. They protect their feeding territory from other sea creatures, using teamwork to strengthen their bonds with each other.
And if they do drift apart, when they meet again they engage in ‘carouselling’, circling around each other as an adorable way to greet each other.
It’s not just humans who sing love songs to woo a partner, male humpback whales do too. These hauntingly beautiful songs are often heard on breeding grounds, and act as a form of courtship, possibly by demonstrating the fitness of the male whale. These songs only travel a few dozen kilometres and while female whales don’t directly approach the male after hearing them, they do increase reproductive success.
Even more interestingly, whales from different parts of the world create different sounds, much like human dialects, and at certain times of the year different whales meet up to share song ideas and learn new sounds. Move over Ed Sheeran and Lionel Richie, you’ve got competition.
Anglerfish aren’t the most attractive sea creature, but they’re certainly one of the most devoted.
Once born, the male has only one aim in life – to find a female, who lures him in using a pulsing light, and when he does, his work is complete. He uses his teeth to clasp on to the body of the female, and stays attached to her forever.
Now we love a bit of romance, but that’s taking things a little too far.
To learn more about the world’s oceans and get up close with beautiful marine life, spend a day at the awe-inspiring Blue Planet Aquarium. Go here for more details: http://www.blueplanetaquarium.com.