Wooing Under Water

On land we might celebrate Valentine's Day with flowers and candlelit dinners, but our marine wildlife also puts in effort when it comes to finding romance.

No February would be complete without at least a mention of Valentine's Day, and there's no better place for romantic inspiration than the marine environment. The species living in our waters use all kinds of fascinating methods to win a mate, from the truly sweet to the downright sneaky. Join us as we take a look at how different animals go about wooing under the waves!

Male cuckoo wrasse © Paul Naylor

Male cuckoo wrasse © Paul Naylor

Male cuckoo wrasse go in for grand gestures, building nests out of seaweed, algae, gravel, and shell fragments. If a nest is impressive enough, a female will lay her eggs there for the lucky male to fertilise.

Short snouted seahorse pair © Paul Naylor

Short snouted seahorse pair © Paul Naylor

Short-snouted seahorses form monogamous pairs and reinforce their bond with elaborate courtship dances. Each day, they spend up to an hour circling each other, changing colour, and entwining their tails together.

Male cuttlefish guards mate from rival © Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

Male cuttlefish guards mate from rival © Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

Cuttlefish also use colour-changing skills when looking for love. Females display different patterns to signal their interest in potential suitors, while males sometimes imitate the colouring of females in order to slip past larger rivals.

Marine wildlife wonders

These are just some of the weird and wonderful wildlife in our waters. To learn more about the species living there, and how you can help to protect them, check out our project Secrets of the Solent.