We may have been thwarted in our attempt at an octopus blind date this year, but there are still some very charming “couples” on exhibit at the Seattle Aquarium.
A quick note before you get too starry-eyed: Not surprisingly, relationships in the animal kingdom are quite different from human relationships. Animals may couple up for a moment, a season or a lifetime—but mating for life isn’t as romantic as it sounds. Animals that choose to mate year after year do so for practical reasons: they’re busy establishing territory, incubating eggs and/or caring for young…spending that time and energy attracting a new mate every year minimizes reproductive time.
That said, please join us in celebrating these twosomes at the Aquarium—and come see them in person during your next visit!
In the wild, tufted puffins form pairs to share in the duties of incubating their egg and feeding their chick. They will return to the same nesting area and the same partner year after year. Here at the Aquarium, our tufted puffin couple Red Blue Band (male) and Yellow Band (female) have bred and hatched two chicks that now live in the exhibit with them: Purple Band (male, born in 2014) and White Band (female, born in 2015, also known as “Gill”).
They may not always be seen together, but the two large yelloweye rockfish in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit often couple up during the winter/spring. Lately they’ve been seen swimming circles around each other (during which time the male will turn very dark in color) in a fishy courtship dance. Rockfish have internal fertilization and give birth to live larval young. The number of young depends on the species of rockfish, and the age and size of the individual, but can be hundreds of thousands of baby rockfish!
We have two pairs of wolf eels denned up together in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit and another pair in the Underwater Dome. Previously thought to bond for life, we now believe that wolf eels can switch partners from season to season.
Can’t get enough of octopuses, even though Cupid’s arrow didn’t fly this year? Join us today on Facebook Live to see a live octopus release, and then join us for Octopus Week, February 18–26, for special activities and lots of chances for up-close looks at these amazing creatures!