When it comes to getting your freak on under the sea, many species use curious strategies to show their affection. To celebrate this Valentine’s Day, we’re counting down the top five weird romance techniques happening in the ocean:
1. Lobsters pee out of their faces to turn each other on
In the lobster world, one large male typically dominates an area and the females line up to mate with him. To get him in the mood, the female waits outside of his den, peeing in his direction out of specialized nozzles on her face. Her urine contains pheromones that let the male know she is ready to reproduce. Once he lets her into his den, she removes her exoskeleton, effectively stripping naked in order to mate.
2. To avoid being strangled and eaten, male octopus remove their arms and give them to females
Octopus are known to be solitary animals and for males, their biggest concern in life is pleasing their lady without dying in the process. Females are generally larger in size and have been observed strangling and eating males when they try to mate. Males have a specialized mating arm called a hectocotylus that allows them to transfer sperm to the female. For some species, they have evolved to remove this arm and hand it over to a female. This allows them to swim away to safety instead of trying to woo their woman up close.
3. For North Atlantic right whales, size matters
Female North Atlantic right whales can be fairly promiscuous, mating with several different males one after another. In order to keep up, males have evolved to have the largest testicles in the animal kingdom – some even weighing up to one tonne! The larger the testicles, the more sperm they can produce, meaning the better chances they have to successfully reproduce. They also have extremely large penises – up to approximately two metres in length!
4. Male anglerfish turn to a puddle of sperm when they find the one
As soon as he finds the one, the male anglerfish bites onto the female and never lets go. Their blood vessels fuse together and the male dissolves much of his body, leaving only his testicles behind. The female now has a lifetime supply of sperm that she can use whenever she wants. No need to worry about finding a new mate in the darkness of the deep sea.
5. Ghost sharks carry their sex organs on their foreheads
Somewhere along the evolutionary chain, male ghost sharks got stuck with the unfortunate reality of having their sex organs stuck on their foreheads. Males can latch their forehead onto a female’s pelvis where he can insert sperm into her sperm sac. The female can then store his sperm in her “pocket” for a rainy day.