Tu B'Av Special: Marine Love

Monogamy at its best: about love and relationships underwater

Tu B'Av is a wonderful opportunity to dive into the depths and discover the wonders of romance among marine creatures | Underwater inspiration

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Love and romantic relationships exist in the animal kingdom in various forms and shades, sometimes in very peculiar and original ways. On the occasion of the Hebrew holiday of love, here are some stories of animal romance. These maritime love stories bear witness to the enduring power of love in all its forms and resonate with the essence of Tu B'Av – the holiday of love, joy, and unity.

Not many people know, but not only humans (or at least many of them) engage in monogamous relationships. Albatrosses and seagulls are monogamous seabirds that maintain a lifelong partnership with one mate.

The courtship rituals begin with many potential mates, but eventually, the one is chosen. Throughout the year, the albatrosses wander and live separately, but during the mating season, they return to the same meeting place to reunite with their constant partner.

A fateful courtship

One of the strangest mating phenomena occurs in anglerfish living in the depths of the sea. The small male anglerfish attaches himself to the much larger female, biting into her skin and releasing enzymes that dissolve tissues.

He actually fuses his body with the body of the female and becomes a parasite that feeds on her blood circulation in order to fertilize her without interruption, since in the dark depths of the sea the frequency of meetings is not frequent. Well, there is no arguing about taste and smell, and who said that relationships must be in a certain way and not another way?

Anglerfish (Photo: Jon Moore)

Dirty Dancing

Many marine animals exhibit elaborate and complex courtship rituals. Sea horses, among the most romantic creatures in the marine world, engage in an extended courtship dance that lasts for several days. During this dance, they change colors, hold onto each other's tails, and move together in harmony.

They are also very feminist, as the male is the one who becomes "pregnant" and carries the fertilized eggs in a special pouch in his abdomen, and not the female.

Artistic fish

The Japanese pufferfish, known as "Abu Nafcha," creates underwater works of art to attract the attention of females. These artworks consist of elaborate and beautiful circular sand patterns on the seabed. The males, using their snouts, draw this amazing design by moving the sand.

The final result is achieved after a week of intense work. The pattern, completely geometric, has a diameter of about 2 meters and can have different shapes: from basic patterns to complex designs that include lines, valleys, and ridges, passing through formations resembling craters.

Pufferfish - Abu Nafha (Photo: EcoOcean)

Some artists even seek other elements, such as delicate seashells and submerged objects in different colors, to enhance their artwork. By the way, dolphins, contrary to what one might expect, are not romantic at all. They are very playful, display aggressiveness, and are not monogamous.


Dr. Asaf Ariel, the scientific director at the "EcoOcean" association.


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