Bump and grind, baby—bump and grind!
This is what we are talking about. 50 shades of what!? Let me tell you, you humans are funny things, funny things indeed. Sex for fun? What a waste of time and energy.
For us beasts in the oceans, we don’t have to enjoy it, we just do it, and let me tell you, we do it well.
Please allow me to introduce you to a few friends of mine who have taken the art of reproduction to some extremes. It isn’t 50 shades down here, more like 5000!
Let me take you on a dive down to the depths, in fact around 850m. The deep ocean is the world’s largest ecosystem, and it has never seen natural light since the earth has had water. Here we find my mate Simon. He is a ferocious male, a deep sea angler fish, over to you Simon.
What a life I have. How would you like to take your love making to a new height? Well, once I find my mate that’s all I do 24 hours a day: make love.
So let me tell you some more…
My life is short. In fact—I am short! I am one of the smallest vertebrates known to man. I know of some smaller but you have to discover them yet. However I digress. Here in the dark depths finding a mate is not easy, the distances are huge, mind blowing, its dark, its full of things trying to eat me, so if and it’s a big IF I find a mate I want her, I need her and I won’t let her go. My darling is huge, compared to me, in fact we have the biggest size difference between sexes, and she’s 500,000 times bigger.
Oh there she is. My darling, I am ready for you now my front two teeth have developed into pincers and I am ready, swimming, faster and faster, closer and closer, snap and my jaws lock on, attached and I am ready to undergo a mating like no other. Soon my mouth parts have fused with her body, she passes me nutrients to keep me alive via her blood stream, yet sadly our eyes never meet! My body slowly closes down and transforms into basically one big sperm producing blob. Here I stay being fed, and in return I produce sperm to fertilise her eggs. Eventually it’s all too much for me and I sadly succumb to the relentless pressures I cannot produce any more, totally spent, my love stops feeding me, why oh why I gave you everything, I drop off, to die alone on the sea floor, making love has finally killed me, but before I go, let me pass you back to my friend.
A sad tale we have heard but it’s true: love making finally killed my little friend, totally devoted yet eventually thrown away only for another to find that fiend of a female, and she is one control freak. Yet another I find, one who just cannot make up his or her mind. Shot to fame in the film Finding Nemo, here he is, now he has grown up.
Well after making that film I had it all, the reef was mine, the fame and fortune, the wild anemone parties, all night we rocked around the coral, zooplankton juice flowed and great times were had by all. After a while the phone stopped ringing, the fish stopped calling, the shrimps stayed away, and I realised that it was all over, I was alone, I had urges, suppressed by that juice, but now I had urges, bloody hell I needed a mate!
So off I went, searching looking, most of the anemone real estate was taken, big bullish females with her smaller male or indeed males attending her, I couldn’t get a look in, even my low celebratory status could not help. Then came the call – we need a C-List celebrity for a new reality show – “Which sex are you today?” — it wasn’t my proudest moment but hey I needed the cash.
The anemone was everything I had dreamed of, and my new female friend, well she was gorgeous, we both forgot where we were and fell deeply in love, away from the cameras we mated and tended to our eggs, then it happened the day I will never forget. We were dancing in and out of the tentacles, fins entwined as we moved then suddenly she shivered, I longingly looked into her eyes, she looked back as her light slowly faded, saying goodbye, her fins lost her grip as she slowly slipped away off the side of our rock, I could not look, my love was gone.
A new male was introduced by the crew, a small but pugnacious chap he was, I remember he had a hit song a few years ago, he started to swim around me, brushing up flicking his fins, was he after me I thought. Then something strange started to happen, my body was changing I had no idea why, within a few days I had quite simply changed sex, I was now the big female. The largest male around it was me who changed because my larger size will allow more eggs to be produced and my oh my I can produce them. So one minute a male fertilising eggs and the next a whole new world opens up as a female laying the eggs. I took the cash, swam away and purchased my own anemone and here we both reside in retirement, until my time is up and my mate turns into me!
So there we have it a huge domineering demanding deep sea female, a clown fish who not only changes sex but can reproduce in both areas too. Sex in the sea can indeed be strange to you humans but wait there let me introduce you to someone who really has taken things in hand.
Brian the Barnacle here, a bullish chap I am strongly protected inside my calcium house, which I built, it has to be strong for there are a lot of animals out there for whom barnacle surprise is high on the menu. So I have a problem, I live inside a house I don’t want to be on the menu but I am also agoraphobic, scared of exposed places, and I want to feel the love of a good barnacle, well hey we all do, don’t we!
So my problem… alone, and in a fixed position, exposed by the tide 8 hours a day, what on earth a self-respecting healthy barnacle with one huge sex drive is going to do? Let’s concentrate on the huge here! I am to say quite proud as well, for I mate randomly, I cannot get emotionally involved with someone I will never see, I just want to mate, I love it, I have got to do it, so how do I do it?
I have evolved the largest male organ in relation to body size in the animal kingdom, a round of applause please, yes proud I am for my member is quite a size at 15 times my body length. This allows me to open up the top of my house and quite simply flick it out to prod around the surrounding rock surface looking for a neighbour who’s wanting a good time. Now if that wasn’t enough, I say with a very smug smile indeed, not only am I armed with that wonderful appendage, but I have up to 15 of them as well! A huge sex drive driven by huge appendages a barnacle life is for me!
Well I am quite speechless at my friend’s attitude a barnacle he may be but I think he needs to learn some manners. So as you see sex in the sea can be quite strange, but how about ensuring only the fittest survive after the act has been done. Let’s go and investigate the unborn babies in my friend’s body.
Hello there, I have no name, I cannot see but I can feel, and I can sense my surroundings very well indeed, in fact my very life depends on it, even though I have not yet been born. My farther mated with my mother 8 months ago, my siblings’ eggs were fertilized and then we resided inside my mother. I hope I never see my dad. Why? Because he will eat me! In fact, after birth I have to get away quickly or my mum may be tempted. It is eat or be eaten, and never did such a philosophy ensure my species survival and success, for I am a sand tiger shark.
I did love my egg yolk, oh it was good and fat, which was good for me as I am the biggest of my brood, and mum does not feed me, she just protects us. I have no feelings, I am a cold hearted unborn king of the uterus. Seven of us started inside, now only 2 remain, well a man’s got to eat hasn’t he! And they tasted good, every bit of them. Listen, this strategy ensures that only the fittest survive and I will be stronger when I am born, increasing my survival chances. The last of my brothers and sisters is giving off signals: It’s eat or be eaten even in here, sorry but it won’t be me! Tasty that was, I bit messy but good and even the guts made for some great eating. I am totally safe now, no competition, my mum will look after me, time for a sleep, until it’s time to introduce myself to the world.
Well my friends what a strategy they use to forward the species, that’s what is all about down here in the sea, I have only introduced you to four of my mates and there are hundreds more, all with different sex lives all make yours look dull and boring, no wonder you are the only species to do it for fun! Compared to us you need all the practice you can get.