This Is How We Do It

From Spice Girls to Fresh Prince the 90s were an eclectic mash-up of pop tunes and catchy anthems. Perhaps one of the more popular, get-stuck-in-your- head-all-day ditty’s, Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It,” is one that comes to mind every time I read up on one particularly fun topic…Ocean Sexy Time.

This is How

With things such as penis fencing and massive sea hare orgies, I think we can all agree, the ocean does “it” in some pretty weird and marvelous ways. So in the spirit of sperm and gif week, I decided to compile some of the kinkiest and intriguing ocean romps, courting displays, and ‘techniques’ for your viewing pleasure. Don’t worry…it’s safe for work…No one will actually know what you are looking at and they probably won’t believe you when you tell them.

1. ‘Knock, Knock.’ ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Barnacle Penis.’ ‘Barnacle Penis whooooaaahhhh.’ Like one of those Facebook Instant Videos you just can’t stop watching, the longest member* of the animal kingdom prowls around looking for a likely mate. Being completely cemented down for almost all of their life, these crusty Casanovas had to figure out another way to carry on the family line.

Barnacles

2. It’s a Torpedo! It’s a Worm! Actually…it’s a penis. Well, kind of. It’s more correctly termed a hectocotylus. Once an arm attached to the male Argonaut, a group of octopus that secrets a shell known as a paper nautilus, these organs are filled with sperm and ejected in search of a female suitor. Fully detached, they can free swim in search of a female pallial cavity and copulation can ensue. The ocean is weird people.

Detachable Penis

3. Flatworms are fierce lovers. Being hermaphrodites, they have both lady bits and man bits. But because raising flatworm babies takes so much effort and energy, no one wants the responsibility. So what do they do? They gouge each other with their man bits in a battle royale unlike any other. The fastest shooter in this situation is the winner and goes on floating about sex battling other flatworms, while the loser is stuck with the real world responsibilities of taking care of the kids.

Penis Fencing

4. They might look all cute and innocent but Sea Hares are actually quite sexually promiscuous. They too are hermaphrodites and will join together in 50 shades of red to form long love chains of copulation. The impregnated individuals will then lay noodle-like pink eggs in large mats covering the ocean floor.

Mating Chains

5. Many ocean-faring critters are Stage 5 Clingers when it comes to relationships. In certain copepod species, duration of when females can mate is a relatively small window.  Males will latch on to the females and wait till this time comes, despite how annoying this might be for the female individual. Anglerfish males are also well known for a similar behavior, however in that instance they will fuse with the female entirely and are only used as baby making machines for the rest of their existence.

Copepods

6. Perhaps one of the most beautiful courtship displays is brought to us by the Cuttlefish. Male Cuttles will attempt to impress the ladies by pulsing vibrant patterns across their mantles while defending territory on the reef. After a extensive display, it’s ladies choice and the fun begins.

Cuttles

7. Male turtles use the small claws on their flippers to lock-in a female for mating. But what happens when you another guy comes around and thinks he’s a better suitor? Things. get. ugly…

Turtles

8. I believe I can fly!! I believe all the ladies are minnnnneeee! Mobulas, or Devil Rays as they are often referred, can school in the thousands. Sometimes they are observed jumping high out of the water. Though scientists are not 100% sure on the purpose of this behavior, one of the reasons purposed is as a sort of courtship dance or proof of prowess. The higher you can jump, the better you are…fathering mobula babies.

Mobula

 

*Proportionally the longest at 8x times the body ratio

Alex Warneke (112 Posts)

Alex is committed to a life of inspiring others to view science through a more dynamic and empowering lens. Alex obtained her M.Sc. in Chemical Ecology from San Diego State University and most recently resided as a Science Programs Manager and Marine Scientist for the National Park Service. As an ecologist, storyteller, and community engager, she has spanned critical boundaries between stakeholders in education, academia, non-profit, and government to translate the most current scientific bodies of work in ways that are accessible and inclusive. She is a strong proponent of unconventional science communication and extending the broader impacts of science to the public using the outlets of art, digital media, education, and citizen science. Currently, Alex works at the interface of climate resilience and community with the Climate Science Alliance. As Deputy Director for the Alliance, her hope is that through her work and experience she can get the world to think differently about how we connect and impact the thriving ecosystem around us and commit to fostering a more resilient future.