Looking for Love? Online Dating Under the Sea

An albatross soars over the ocean.
A still from Albatrocity, part of the 19th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital. (© Splashroom Media)

Love is in the air at the National Museum of Natural History! Our scientists are helping species look for love in this series of “dating profiles” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. For more dating options head over to the Unearthed Blog from Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History! We're partial to the sea otter and the triplewart seadevil!

Hypoplectrus guttavarius hermaphrodite fish hanging out in a coral reef

Screen name: HamletNotRomeo

Species: Shy hamlet (Hypoplectrus guttavarius)

Sex: Male and female (keeps my options open)

Location: Caribbean, usually hanging out near coral reefs

Details: I'm a scaly and colorful Caribbean fish. I'm blue and yellow with a lovely mark on my nose. I can get up to 13 cm long. I like to eat your typical crustaceans, most of the time you can find me munching on shrimp

My self summary: I’m just a humble hamlet fish, looking for a quick fling or a longer term commitment. Either way, you’ll have your daytimes to yourself - I like to meet up just before sunset for no more than an hour or so.

My secret: I'm a hermaphrodite (switch between male and female)—but it's not really a secret. I'm out and proud!

I'm really good at: Taking turns... I like to keep my spawning exciting!

The first thing people usually notice about me: My beautiful yellow coloring and stern demeanor.

I'm looking for: A partner who is willing to experiment with switching sex roles during our fling. Even though there are other good-looking hamlets out there, I’m looking for another shy one to spend time with.


5 Year Old Male Waved Albatross

Screen name: Only1ForYou

Species: Waved albatross (Phoebastria irrorata)

Sex/Age: Male/5 years old (this is my first mating year!)

Location: summer on Espanola Island in the Galapagos, and winter in Peru

Details: I'm a little under three feet tall, but my wingspan is 8 feet long. My wings help me soar in the sky, swim in the water, and, with any luck, wrap you up in a giant hug.

I'm really good at: I could dance all night with the right girl. My favorite moves are the neck wave, the bill clack, and bill swords. Want to clack bills with me?

The first thing people usually notice about me: My blue suede shoes… err, feet. I've been told that mine are brighter than most other albatross feet.

I think a lot about: How to tell the difference between a fishing lure and a fish. My mother was killed by a longline, and I want to avoid the same fate.

I'm looking for: Someone to raise many children and grow old with—and that's a long time. My grandpa lived for 45 years!

February 2015
Tags: Reproduction