The most romantic fishes

Fishes aren’t known to score well on the romantic scale. That said, here are five exceptions that swim against the tide.

Orange-Spotted Filefish

orange-spotted filefish
Image credit: Boon Ping, aquarist at S.E.A. Aquarium

Commonly known as the Harlequin Filefish, these beautiful Orange-Spotted Filefish form a life-long monogamous bond. They are often seen in pairs swimming together from coral to coral feeding on the different polyps. Just like this pair at the Hard Coral habitat at S.E.A. Aquarium, as captured by Frances Lam and Boon Ping from our curatorial team:


French Angelfish

French Angelfish
Typically in pairs, French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) form monogamous bonds that often last as long as both individuals are alive. They are usually seen living, travelling and even hunting together. They even act as a team to vigorously defend their territory against neighbouring pairs.


How do male seahorses woo females? They dance.

This courtship dance occurs in the morning for several days until the female is ready to part with her eggs, after which the males will fertilise and incubate the eggs till they hatch. As they dance, they change color, sometimes with tails entwined, as seen in this video below:

Banded Pipefish

Like their cousins the seahorses, the Banded Pipefish form monogamous pairs and even perform daily courtship rituals during the breeding season, as seen in this video by the BBC:

The eggs are eventually transferred from the female to the male who will fertilise and incubate them. After the transfer, the female can start to produce the next batch of eggs. This shared parenting, which may appear romantic to us humans, is in fact nature’s way of doubling their potential number of offspring.

White-spotted Pufferfish

In 1995, divers noticed mysterious “underwater crop circles” on the seafloor off Japan. It was only about a decade later that the creators of these remarkable formations were found: the White-spotted Pufferfish (Torquigener albomaculosus).

According to the study published on 1 July 2013 in the journal Scientific Reports, the circles are actually nests created by males, which spend about ten days carefully constructing and decorating the structures to woo females. If the females like what they see, they mate with the males. And this is how the amazing masterpiece is created:

Which of these fish do you think is the most romantic? Share with us in the comments below.

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