by Gaute H. May 01, 2023 2 min read
Pride Month is in June, and to celebrate diversity and queerness, we are sharing some fabulous facts about the rainbow diversity found in our oceans.
Of course, things like sexuality, gender and relationships are human concepts - just like hate, prejudice, and LGBTQ+ phobia, which you won't find any of in the animal kingdom.
Seahorses already defy gender roles with the males bearing eggs and giving birth. However, it also turns out that almost all seahorses are bisexual, forming relationships with both male and female partners.
The women rule the world in the clownfish world. Clownfish live in small groups with a strict hierarchy consisting of one dominant female and a small number of males. Should the boss female disappear, the most high-ranking male changes his gender to become the dominant female and in charge of the group.
In some colonies of albatrosses, as many as a third of the nesting pairs raising young are both females. Although they (ahem!) "make use" of a male to get pregnant, the newborn is cared for and raised by two female partners. The female couples show the same devotion to their partners, proudly displaying pair-bonding and sharing parenting duties.
Starfish can be found in oceans and beaches all around the world, and they've simply never needed the constraints of gender. In fact, they're considered both female and male at the same time, also called hermaphrodites. Although they usually still need a partner to mate with, they're clearly seeking some more deep and meaningful traits than just gender in their chosen partner.
Wrasse fish is born female, but as they develop, a dominant female emerges by showing behaviors, like courtship and aggressiveness - similar to male fish. When the timing is right, she transitions into a male over the course of 10-20 days and becomes the dominant leader of the group. When a dominant male wrasse fish disappears from its group, the remaining females are left in a stressful scramble until one of the females transforms itself to a male and takes his place. To complete the transition, the female wrasse shuts down the production of estrogen, and within six days, testicles will have replaced its former counterparts.
After young orcas are old enough to leave their family group, they form seasonal packs of just young male whales. When they are not busy hunting or telling each other porpoise jokes, the group engage in sexual play. None is left out and they all seem to be enjoying themselves.
The lives of bottlenose dolphins are characterised by extensive bisexuality combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality. In many cases, the bottlenose dolphins form lifelong bonds with an exclusive same-sex partner. The partners will protect each other from predators, watch over when the other is resting, and help when they are healing from wounds or illness. Adorable, right?
Founder of Oceanness. Enjoys the ocean, hanging out with friends, and exploring the world. Favorite ocean animal: Dolphins.
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