It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Whether you are looking to meet that special someone or show your partner how much you care, the animals at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada have some tips for you.

#1 Dress to impress.

Flamboyant cuttlefish are experts in this department. Cuttlefish possess special skin cells called chromatophores that allow them to change colour. Waves of colour pulse atop their bodies and are used to mesmerize and entice mates. Cuttlefish are also able to change the texture of their skin, creating tall peaks or deep grooves. If you don’t know what to wear this Valentine’s Day look to the cuttlefish, bright colours and puffy shoulder pads are a sure hit (if you’re trying to attract a cuttlefish that is)!

#2 Don’t beat around the bush.

Lobsters take a less subtle approach during courtship. Female lobsters approach a mate wearing only their undergarments…that is to say they have just molted (shed their shell). During this time, she is vulnerable and must venture into uncharted territory, the man cave! Male lobsters spend much of their time alone in protective rock crevices, the perfect place for a molting female to hide. In order to gain entry, the female releases a special perfume outside the man cave to signal a male. The couple remains together for only 2 weeks, enough time for the females’ shell to harden, at that point she is off and the next molting female is free to call upon the male.

#3 A friendly greeting goes a long way!

Our syngathid couples (sea horses and pipefishes) here at the aquarium can be seen re-affirming their bond each morning using this simple tip. This greeting consists of the couple swimming together and entwining their bodies in a loving embrace. It must work well because these fish form monogamous couples, often staying together for life. Remember this tip, a simple “Good Morning” text message can mean a lot!

#4 Be persistent.

When male horseshoe crabs find a suitable female they grab hold of her to guard her from other males. A male will stay attached to a female for months on end hoping that she will release eggs for him to fertilize. Little does the male know, she will only release her eggs in the same area where she herself was hatched. It could be a long wait.

#5 Show off your skills.

A male mantis shrimp is an expert fisherman. Using a powerful club-like appendage he will strike out and stun unsuspecting fish swimming by. He supplies his mate with food so she can use her energy to produce offspring. Often times the male is solely responsible for providing the food and in the event of his death the female will starve.


Have a question about the Aquarium, or something you would like to see on Deep Sea Diary? Comment below for the chance for your question to be featured in our monthly Q&A post!



Katelyn has been a member of the education staff at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada for the past two years. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology, minoring in Environmental Resource Management. She then continued her studies at the University of British Columbia where she studied the physiology of fishes and received a Master of Science degree in Zoology.

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