In case you were thinking that fidelity only applies to us humanoids, think again. All of these water loving/living creatures pretty much mate for life:
- ALBATROSS – Other bird species can boast about their monogamous relationships, but albatross display a unique patience and persistence when it comes to stoking the flames of romance. Young albatrosses learn from older birds how to woo their mates using an elaborate system of preening, pointing, rattling, bowing and other sweet dance moves. After they learn advanced wooing, albatrosses may ‘dance’ with many partners until they find the right one – but once they select that perfect mate, they’re boos for life.
- BEAVERS – Beavers stay together for the kids. Not only are these loyal creatures faithful to their mates, but they’re also devoted parents. Dads don’t just go off to build dams and whatnot while moms stay at home raising the kits; both male and female beavers take an active hand in bringing up their offspring. And once those kits reach about 2 years of age, they go off to find true love of their own, and the beautiful cycle of monogamous beaver love continues. And, yes, baby beavers are called kits. That in itself is a cuteness overload.
- FRENCH ANGELFISH – French angelfish make such perfect couples that it would embarrass most humans. Not only do these fish stay with their mates until death, but they spend fully half of their time swimming side by side. Not only that, but when French angelfish couples come together again after time apart, they engage in what’s called “carouseling,” circling round and round each other. When was the last time you and your other half were so happy to see each other that you both literally spun around in the pure bliss of being together?
- PENGUINS – Penguins are often cited for their monogamy, but as cute as it is to imagine the same pair of penguins waddling around flipper-in-flipper for eternity, the truth is that they are only serially monogamous, which means pairs usually stay together for one breeding season at a time. Exceptions to this are not uncommon, however, and some pairs are known to seek each other out again and again over many seasons. In fact, a particularly devoted couple of Magellanic penguins tracked by scientists have been observed to return to each other every season for 16 years, and are still going strong. Now that’s love.
- SEAHORSES – If albatross relationships are reminiscent of fairy-tale romance, seahorses might be considered the swingers of the sea. Many seahorse species will bond with a mate, but that bond often lasts only through a single breeding season or until a more attractive female comes along. But, monogamy in this case is useful since it can be hard to find fellow seahorses due to poor swimming skills and low densities. There is evidence that the longer that partners are together, the more successful at breeding they become and the two are able to produce more offspring per brood. One species of seahorse does appear to stick with a single mate for life: the Australian Hippocampus whitei. Practice makes perfect!
- SWANS – Swans are often used as a symbol of romance. First of all, they do that adorable thing where they crane their heads together, their graceful necks creating a heart shape. It’s perfect for greeting cards. On top of that, swans are famously monogamous. How sweet! They really love each other. But only to a point, it turns out. Newer research shows that ‘divorce’ can sometimes split up longstanding swan couples. Evidence suggests that the reason behind such events is that a couple may find themselves unable to breed with each other any longer. It’s not a fairy tale, but sometimes practical matters trump true love. Happily, swans are mature, and divorced couples may still live closely and cordially with each other, even with their new partners.
So there’ll be no more of using the excuse of ‘animals don’t mate for life’ for a lot of you fidelity challenged – you’d better, in the words of Nat King Cole, ‘Straighten up and fly right, Straighten up and stay right …’ Of course, if none of this applies, you can always amaze and wow your mates at the water cooler with your knowledge or; for huge brownie points, your Valentine? ♥