Crea­tures of the sea know just the way to woo a lady

SEAL­IFE IN BRAY OF­FER­ING A UNIQUE IN­SIGHT INTO MAT­TERS OF THE HEART

Bray People - - News - Clara BYRNE

WHILE MANY of us were go­ing to elab­o­rate lengths to demon­state our love with ex­trav­a­gant gifts on Valen­tine’s Day, you needn’t have looked any fur­ther than Seal­ife in Bray for some real in­spi­ra­tion.

With ap­prox­i­mately one bil­lion Valen­tines be­ing sent each year world­wide, the hu­man race just doesn’t seem to cut it com­pared to na­ture’s ef­forts in woo­ing loved ones. I took a trip down to Seal­ife bray to see what a true ro­man­tic gets up to.

The first of the Romeos I heard about was the male shark, who engages in a bit of love-bit­ing to en­sure he is in with a chance with his fe­male.

Not too far off from our ef­forts, but the next smooth op­er­a­tor I came across re­ally took the cake.

The slen­der sea­horse, along with all his other hard work­ing coun­ter­parts, re­ally does go that ex­tra mile for his mis­sus.

Once two sea­horses like the look of each other, the ‘ pre-dawn dance’ be­gins.

Their court­ing lasts sev­eral days and dur­ing this time they will swim side by side and wrap their tails around each other. It is only af­ter this that they be­gin their ‘ true courtship dance’ which lasts around eight hours. And this isn’t even the best part!

The one with the bur­den of preg­nancy af­ter all this loving is strangely handed over to the male! Now that’s true love! And the hum­ble crab re­ally puts us to shame.

‘A king crab or a blue crab, for ex­am­ple, will gen­tly cra­dle his mate be­neath him and carry her round for maybe three days be­fore they get it to­gether,’ said Seal­ife marine ex­pert Mar­cus Wil­liams.

He is then re­warded with an eight-hour cou­pling for all his ef­forts. He may be a bit of a hard­case, but the male crab is no love ‘em and leave ‘em scoundrel!

A slip­pery lit­tle devil that gives off a tough per­sona is the mo­ray eel. A fright to look at in his un­der­wa­ter layer in the cen­tre, he is snake like and packed full of un­wel­com­ing teeth, the last thing you would think is that this is a bit of a shy guy. ‘They are quite bash­ful, and their courtship is not of­ten wit­nessed,’ help­ful Mar­cus chipped in, ‘ but those who have seen it de­scribe a very mov­ing scene in which they weave from side to side fac­ing each other with mouths wide open be­fore coil­ing their bodies to­gether in a loving em­brace.’ I man­aged to bite my tongue be­fore ‘ that’s a mo­ray!’ came out!

As I munch on my cho­co­lates ( if I’m even lucky enough to get any that is) I know my mind will won­der back to Seal­ife be­cause those de­voted bach­e­lors re­ally know how to woo a girl.

The sea­horses, crab and mo­ray eel, all well ed­u­cated in mat­ters of the heart.

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