We humans have developed a few token signs of affection when it comes to love and finding that special person: buy some chocolates, wine and dine by candlelight, and romantic strolls by the beach. We probably think we know best when it comes to showing love, but there are a few creatures in our the oceans that might prove us wrong, and maybe even give us a few pointers. Meet a few ocean animals that are masters of the art of affection.
(Photo: Barry Peters)
French angelfish: Show your lover how much you’ve missed him/her.
French angelfish know how to make a reunion memorable: after periods of separation, couples swim in circles around each other like two teens out of a John Hughes flick, a behavior called “carouseling.” Thought to mate only with one life partner, French angelfish spend about half their time at their partner’s side.
Albatross: Bust out the dance moves, even if they’re dorky.
Among seabirds, albatrosses are well-known for their wacky, complex movements and noises when trying to woo one another. We’re talking swaying, bobbing up and down, head wiggles, beat-boxing with their bills—all signs that for the albatross, you better bring every dance move you’ve got. Laysan albatross couples even dance together in unison!
Gentoo penguin: Classic gift-giving is still appreciated.
During the mating season, a Gentoo penguin pair will prepare their nest together. When one returns to the breeding ground with a pebble to use for the nest, the other will bow to accept the stone, both acknowledging their relationship.
Seahorse: Treat your lady as your equal.
Sometimes fellas, you have to let Mom wear the pants. After a long period of the couple courtship dancing by way of holding tails, whirling around and even changing color, a female seahorse will lay her eggs in a special pouch on the male’s belly, after which she’ll visit her guy each morning to check on him.
(Photo: Mike Baird)
Sea otter: Never be embarrassed to hold hands.
This one’s an Internet phenomenon: Sea otters sometimes hold hands so as not to float away from one another. They call water home, and some, like the California sea otter, will eat, sleep and have pups there. When sleeping, they wrap themselves in seawood to stick around, or even hold onto their loved ones.