Featured Seawords Article

Features Seawords Article February 2018

Whale You Be My Valentine?

As Valentine’s Day is approaching, let's celebrate our love for marine animals! Here are some “romantic” facts about marine life.



  1. To keep from drifting apart, sea otters (Enhydra lutris) will often hold paws with their family members while sleeping.
  1. For male hooded seals (Cystophora cristata), attracting a female with a pink balloon is the best way to secure a mate. To create a pink balloon, the male closes one of his nostrils to inflate a balloon-like nasal membrane.
  1. Seahorses (Hippocampus) create a deeper connection with their significant other by dancing with their tails entangled while changing colors as they move.
  1. For some shrimp (Caridea), their heart is actually in their head.
  1.  Female lobsters (Nephropidae) use their urine as a love potion to attract a mate. A female seduces the male by squirting some of her urine into a male’s den and if he likes her scent they move to the next step.
  1. To secure a mate, male penguins will often propose to a female with a nice pebble and if she accepts his offer the female penguin will place her “engagement pebble” in a pile to prepare for a nest to place her future eggs.
  1. To get rid of competition while courting, a male cuttlefish (Sepiida) will display male color patterns on the side of his body facing a female while disguising his opposite side as a female pattern to trick the other males into thinking that he is not a threat.
  1. To find the right “soul mate”, an albatross (Diomedeidae) will court a female albatross for  several years by partaking in dancing rituals. When it is time to become partners, their relationship is known to last a lifetime.
  1. When a lunar cycle approaches, a Pacific palolo worm (Eunice viridis) rises to the surface to spawn and release part of its body that contain gametes.
  1. An octopus (Octopoda) has a lot of room for “love” in its life as they are known for having three hearts and nine brains. 
  1.  When an Amazon pink river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) is excited, it blushes by turning its skin color a deeper pink.
  1. Penguins’ black and white camouflage appearance is known as countershading, but it almost looks like a wedding tuxedo. Their black backs help them blend in with the ocean from above, protecting them against predators looking down and their white bellies protect them against predators looking up. 
  1. To win a female over, male narwhals (Monodon monoceros) use their long tusks to fight off any other male competition.
  1.  Mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda ) become fluorescent while courting a mate.

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