During his musical number Under The Sea in Disney movie The
Little Mermaid, Sebastian the crab proclaims: 'Darling it's better, down
where it's wetter, take it from me'. While children may labour under the
misapprehension that the reference was to the generally higher standard of
living to be found beneath the waves, some adult scientists know he was actually
referring to sex.
'It's just mind-blowing what these creatures get up to,'
says Sheree Marris, a scientist who writes about sex in the marine world.
'As humans we think we're such sexual beasts but compared to sea creatures
we're so boring.'
Many marine creatures live in an environment where mates
can be hard to find and predators hard to avoid so they have had to develop
some bizarre strategies to get some action and avoid getting eaten at the
Most animals are only receptive to mates at certain times
and for many sea creatures getting together to do the deed at the right time
can be almost impossible. The anglerfish is once such beast. This strange
fish lives in the extreme depths of the ocean where it is perpetually dark,
cold and pretty lonely. To attract a mate, she secretes a perfume that the
tiny male finds irresistible. Once he picks up the scent, he pursues the
much larger female until he can give her a love bite - one that she will
never shake off.
Once attached, he becomes fused to her and 'dissolves'
until all that remains are a blob of testicles on her skin. When she is ready
to breed, the female commands her sex slave to release the sperm she needs.
brought up had 11 males attached to her, she was one lucky girl,' Marris
Far cuter that the anglerfish, but with their own brand
of sexual deviance, are the much-loved
who not only enjoy casual and recreational sex but will also masturbate by
rubbing against other dolphins and stick their penises in one another's blow
holes. 'That's why it's hotter, under the water...' It certainly is,