Human courtship and Fish courtship
Plenty of Fish is a popular dating website for us humans. We log on and click through a number of people’s profiles and pictures trying to find our perfect “match”.
Human courtship these days is an arduous task involve emails, texting, emoji’s, snapchats and showing off on social media. Maybe you date multiple people at one time, , maybe you are swiping left or right and leaping in on one night stands. And then hopefully you find the one. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have found the one without going through all of that in the first place, lucky you!
Under the sea, marine animals in some ways share some of our crazy courtship rituals. But they also have their own way of finding their perfect “match” or in some cases “matches” . Let’s check it out as we explore fish courtship.
5) The Artistic Japanese Pufferfish
The pufferfish, like many humans, use their artistic abilities to show off to the opposite sex. Using the ocean floor like their own personal Instagram page to impress the females, the pufferfish will draw ornate circles and patterns in the sand by laboriously flapping their fans along the seafloor. Once the patterns are finished the females will inspect the artwork and reproduce with the fish that produced the best pattern. It’s all about getting the most likes on their post!
4) The Romantic Seahorse
The seahorse is one of the oceans monogamous species and are hopeless romantics. As part of their courtship these guys, hug, caress, and change color. They even participate in an authentic “dirty dance” every morning where they copy what the other does to strengthen their bond. What we all are secretly hoping for in any relationship!
3) Bumphead Parrot fish
These fish are seen frequently on our dives here in Quepos! The Bumphead Parrot fish have a more “progressive” way of courting and mating than us humans. They have been caught in the act of mating in groups of up to 10 individuals. These groups are usually comprised of many males fighting over few females. The female parrot fish may also change into males if a viable male is unavailable for mating with the large group of females!
The Octopus have more of depressing courtship and mating story. Most octopus that you will see while snorkeling or diving are virgins! Octopus are a “one and done” species. Once octopus mate they die shortly after. The males die a few months later while the females die shortly after the eggs hatch. They have quite an interesting mating ritual where the male can also chose to break off his member and give it to the female to put in her mantle for future use. Think of that kind of sacrifice!
When the female Manta Ray is ready to find a mate she releases a sexual hormone into the water. The male manta will sense this and start to form a “conga line” behind the ready female. As the female swims through the water the number of male mantas behind her will start to grow. This line of males will start to copy her every move, much like us females Friday night at the bar. The male mantas will slowly start to lose steam, they get bored or get tired of the female’s “games”. The last manta standing will win the heart of the female and the opportunity to “take her home” that night and mate with her.
So what do you think?
Fish courtship and mating is extremely interesting, and oddly enough it can be entertaining to draw similarities between us and them! Next time you are whizzing through Tinder or snapchat, have a think about all of those strange rituals happening underwater!