Top Ten Seductions from the Sea for Valentine's Day

No doubt, the ocean is where it's at when it comes to seduction, romance, and a little kinky sex.  Here's the top ten sexiest moves by animals of the deep to inspire your Valentine's 2018.

10. Ostracod light show

 Photo by Elliot Lowndes, mrlowndes.com via Scientific America: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/the-starry-night-beneath-the-caribbean-sea/

Photo by Elliot Lowndes, mrlowndes.com via Scientific America: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/the-starry-night-beneath-the-caribbean-sea/

The males of these tiny, lima-bean looking crustaceans emit small pulses of neon great light to attract females during mating season.  Like fireflies of the reef, each of the dozens of species has it's own height above the reef to display, and its own morse-code of love, helping females find the right male partner. But, sneaky, non-displaying males may dash in and steal females en route to the displaying male. It's not all that romantic, but it's effective.    

9.  Cross-dressing Cuttlefish

 Giant cuttlefish by Blue Planet II blog on  BCC One . 

Giant cuttlefish by Blue Planet II blog on BCC One

If you can't beat 'em, deceive 'em. That's the motto of small male Giant cuttlefish off Australia. With about four males to every female (sometimes as many as ten to one) and rather picky females, the odds of finding a mate are few.  Big males win over and guard females, threatening any other males that approach.  So, little guys have no chance competing...as males. As females, they do just fine.  Shifting colors and holding their multiple arms in close, small males are just the right size to mimic females.  With the big males duped, these cross-dressing males sneak a quick copulation with a female. Evidently, risking it all by faking femaleness is enough to win her over.

If all goes well, they can escape before the big boyfriend figures out the ruse or perhaps worse, tries to mate with the small male.  Sneak Peak: @BBCone's next episode of BBC Blue Planet 2 holds more on this seduction tactic!

8. Climax Vibrato of a Haddock

 Picture via  Arkive.org

Picture via Arkive.org

In haddock, close relatives of cod, males can produce a 'knock knock knock" sound by pulsating their swim bladder.  The more sexually aroused a male gets, the faster his internal drumming. He begins to woo the female by circling her and showing off his size and drumming skills; if she's impressed, she will allow him to swim upside-down underneath her.  He then clasps his small pelvic fins (located up by his chin) with hers, and pulls her close. During this intimate moment, his drumming crescendos into a continuous hum. The vibration may be just what she needs to let her know he’s ready to pop and its time for her to release her eggs. So goes the foreplay behind your fish-n-chips. 

7.  Grunion bondage

 Illustrations by  Missy Chimovitz.  

Illustrations by Missy Chimovitz. 

"Her skin shone in the moonlight, a flash of silver against the dark beach. She knew he wanted her. She could see him desperately fighting his way toward her from among the crowd..."  If fish could write, the soft-porn section would be filled with tales of the grunion runs.  Every spring, these sexual extremists hurl themselves ashore, risking asphyxiation for the next generation.  Females bury their bodies in the sand, leaving only their heads protruding. Several males will then encircle her, wrapping themselves around her and using her body as a slide for their sperm, which sinks into the small pit she digs in the sand. The males then depart as quickly as they arrived. Free of their embrace, she must wriggle her way out of her beach-sand bonds and make it back to the sea before her breath runs out. 

6.  Daily Dance of the Seahorse

 Image from petseahorse.com

Image from petseahorse.com

When the male's the one to carry the eggs, a female's got to be sure he's going to be reliable. To help build their bond and coordinate their timing, a female visits the same male's territory every morning during the breeding season. The two then engage in a short courtship dance that looks like something out of a Jane Austen novel.  

Upon her approach they both brighten in color, as if blushing. Then they each wrap their tails around a blade of sea grass and begin to circle. Then, they drift side-by-side, often entwining tails like lovers holding hands as they "stroll" over to another blade of sea grass. The flirtatious dance repeats each day for several minutes.W hey then part ways for the rest of the day, like good chaste Victorians should.

When its time for the female to transfer a new batch of eggs to the male, the male will thrust his body to show-off his belly pouch. The courtship may take hours, but sex is fleeting, happening quickly as the two rise upwards in the water column. Their daily dance resumes the next morning. 

5. Tube Blenny Seduction via Sanitation  

 Photo from ryanphotographic.com

Photo from ryanphotographic.com

Tube blennies go for the reclaimed “loft” apartments of the reef, living inside abandoned barnacle shells or worm tubes. But males face a conundrum—these older homes are often encrusted by other organisms growing inside them; yet, female tube blennies are a clean freaks. Courting males thus spend their time scraping off seaweed and clearing out debris in order to entice a female to lay her eggs inside. To catch her attention, a male also plays a game of peek-a-boo, emerging from the tube to flare his fins and show off his size before quickly dashing back in.  Curious females follow him for a closer inspection—sizing up him and his den's cleanliness. 

4. Fan Dance of the Splendid Mandarinfish

 Photograph by Klaus Stiefel.

Photograph by Klaus Stiefel.

Nothing says "let's get it on" like the elaborate "fan" dance of the aptly named splendid mandarinfish. Courting males flare their enormous, ping-pong paddle-like pectoral fins to show off swirls of neon blue, orange, and bright pink.  Fluttering these fins like jazz hands, they then lift and lower their dorsal spine, which hoists an equally psychedelic dorsal fin like a sail along their back. For a full display, the male will also extend his anal fin for a final splash of color below. Add an impressive body shimmy to the mix and the effect is mesmerizing, captivating divers as much as it does available female manderinfish. 

3. Elaborate love dens of pufferfish 

 Photo: Relax life

Photo: Relax life

Some girls just dig artists.  Such is the case in the white-spotted pufferfish.  Though the male could fit in the palm of your hand, he is capable of constructing a nest six feet across that looks like an underwater mandala

2. Golden Showers and Knighting in Lobster 

 Illustration by Missy Chimovitz. FiftyFootGirl.com

Illustration by Missy Chimovitz. FiftyFootGirl.com

In the world of lobster sex, nothing says “let’s get it on” like peeing in your lover’s face. Males and females rely on the sultry scent of their urine to set the mood and, once engaged, keep potential rivals at bay until a couple has completed their crustacean consummation.

Lucky for the females, twenty- five million years has provided ample time to refine their skills as apothecaries. Arriving at the entrance of an aggressive male’s shelter, all a female lobster needs to do is spritz him with some of her pee (which she shoots out of nozzles located under her eye stalks), a little each day over several days, and he will be putty in her claws.

As the love potion takes effect, the formerly surly male turns into a tender lover, inviting the female in to share his den for the next few days. They continue to spray each other with their urine as they go about their daily business. Then, when she feels her molt is imminent and thus the time for sex is nigh, she gives him the signal.  Things get more romantic (and continue to be a bit kinky) after that.  A few days later, with a newly hardened shell and pocket full of sperm, the female departs, leaving room for the next lover to begin her daily golden showers over the male. 

1. Nudibranch's Mutual Give and Take

 Photo by Klaus Stiefel

Photo by Klaus Stiefel

Not all marine worms value equality when it comes to sex (some of them fence with their penises, trying to force fertilization on their partner).  But in many species, sex is a truly give-and-take affair. These hermaphrodites create closed loops of love as they penetrate one another simultaneously. They each take on the more burdensome role of carrying and laying developing eggs in exchange for the chance to play the unencumbered male, too. The inseminator is also the inseminated. It's an "I fertilize you, you fertilize me" approach to sex—a rare example that sometimes, all is fair in love.