Romantic Gestures in the Animals
Believe it or not, this kind of behavior is not restricted to human beings. Other animals will go to great lengths to attract a mate or to retain them. The methods that they go about doing so can vary. Whether it’s in displaying their qualities, giving gifts, or choosing the right time and place for your expression of love, the following animals have some great tips on romantic gestures for you to keep in mind for your sweetie (or potential sweetie)!
As it turns out, we are no different from animals as this practice of displaying is extremely common. In the majority of species, it’s the male that does the most showing off. This makes sense because the female body (in most organisms) actually uses more energy in getting her body ready to hold and produce offspring. Whether its showing off their brilliant colors, displaying strength, or exhibiting their very best dancing and singing skills, males of all kinds of organisms vie for the attention of the females who get the option of choosing which one is most pleasing to them. Or rather, which one is best for producing successful offspring!
Let’s start our romantic gestures list with a few examples of some pretty spectacular displays:
Flamingos, far more flamboyant than the stuffy old whooping cranes, put more flair into their courtship dances. Flamingos generally keep together in very large flocks of up several hundred individuals, however, at mating season, smaller flocks will break off from the larger one. These smaller flocks come together for a choreographed group dance routine that rivals even the best Hamilton show or flash mob. Also monogamous, when each pair has had enough of the performance, they’ll split off from the dance routine and go off together to a nesting spot.
One of the oldest creatures on the earth, horseshoe crabs have been around for nearly 300 million years. That pre-dates dinosaurs! Looking at how long they have survived on this planet, clearly something is being done correctly when it comes to reproduction, right? Turns out, that something right may very well be the time and place that they choose to reproduce. Delaware Bay, a horseshoe crab ‘hotspot’ of sorts sees a drastic influx of population but only on certain times and days. As it turns out, horseshoe crabs will only get together during the full moon on high tide in May and June. During those times, visitors to Delaware Bay beaches can see hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs converging at once.
Not much for dancing like other bird species, bowerbirds employ a very different technique to attract a mate. Bowerbirds consist of about 20 species that are native to Australia and New Guinea. They get their names from elaborate structures that they build, called bowers. The males construct these bowers as a nesting site for their potential females and they are truly something to behold. The structures are long tunnels made of interwoven twigs that can reach up to 1 ½ feet in length and lead into a front court opening. The males decorate the court opening with items that he collects such as bones, rocks, and shells. Some species of bowerbird will truly show off their interior decorating skills, weaving flower petals and sparkly objects into their bowers. When a female steps into the court opening, the male will proudly show off his collection to her as an invitation to join him.
Cuttlefish don’t need to sing or dance to get their mates’ attention. Truth be told, they don’t need much help at all to find a mate. But these color changing mollusks have other tricks up their sleeves. In order to minimize competition with other males while wooing a female, the male will actually change half his body color to mimic the color of a female cuttlefish so that any passersby, particularly other males that may be competition, mistakenly assume it’s two females hanging out together.