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S.E.X on the Great Barrier Reef

S.E.X on the Great Barrier Reef

With its sparkling turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, spectacular coral reefs and 74 of the world’s most beautiful and pristine islands, The Whitsundays region is generally considered the ultimate paradise for romantics.

From couples camping on proposals and weddings hotspot Whitehaven Beach, to the unique underwater ocean views of Reefsuites, as well as Airlie Beach’s galore of restaurants and bars and loads of activities and experiences especially designed for the loved-up, The Whitsundays offers countless opportunities for an unforgettable Valentine’s Day.

But what’s happening down there… that is, deep within the ocean waters of the Great Barrier Reef? This Valentine’s Day, Tourism Whitsundays’ Master Reef Guide, Crystal Lacey – aka ‘Littlefish’ – is shedding light on the love stories and mating habits of wildlife within the Great Barrier Reef.

Here are seven fun facts about wildlife sex on the Great Barrier Reef, courtesy of Littlefish…

1. DOLPHINS are the only animals in the ocean that have sex for pleasure.

2. MALE SEAHORSES give birth to their young – and to as many as 2,000 babies per birthing!

3. SEA STARS are asexual and don’t require a partner to do the deed. Also, sea stars can lose a leg and grow it back, and the lost leg can then grow a whole new sea star. They can also split in half and create a clone.

4. SHARKS include species that lay eggs and species that give birth to live young. In the womb, the baby sharks may eat each other until there is just one left. How sharks actually do the deed though is especially tough on the female. The males bite the female just behind the pectoral fins on her sides, and hold on to the female the entire time during the mating process which leaves the females wounded. This is one way to distinguish a female shark from a male – you can see the battle scars on the female’s body. In other news, male sharks have two claspers (that is, the technical name for the ‘you know what’). Now that is a double whammy!

5. TURTLES seemingly like it slow; it can take several hours in fact! Afterwards, the male will try to hang onto the female’s shell to prevent other males from mating with her. Several males will compete for the same female, aggressively biting at a male’s tail and fins in an attempt to force him away from the female. Whilst mating, a male turtle will nod his head, squeal or grunt.

6. NUDIBRANCHS have lungs outside of their body, and these little slugs have both male and female parts. When two nudibranchs meet, they have a sword fight to determine who is to be the male (the winner) and who is to be the female. Once the deed is done, the male’s ‘sword’ falls off! He then grows another.

7. ANGLERFISH are prehistoric-looking fish that live at least 2000m deep in the depths of the ocean where it is pitch-black. Female anglerfish are much larger than males. At just 3cm, the male will bite and latch onto a female’s body where he will slowly breakdown and leave only his gonads dangling on the female’s body. From here, the female will absorb the gonads, and this how she fertilises her eggs. Lucky it is dark down there!

To learn more about the Wonders of The Whitsundays and its extraordinary offering of romance and wildlife experiences on the Great Barrier Reef, visit

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