I’ve taken to reading random Wikipedia entries, something that’s very easy and informative thanks to the layout of their front page.
Today’s entry that I came across involved the anglerfish, which many people are familiar with as the deep sea fish that dangles a bioluminescent glowing, worm-like bait from it’s forehead in order to draw prey close enough to its mouth to eat.
If you saw Pixar’s Finding Nemo, you saw an animated version of this fish in the dark sea depths sequence.
The fascinating, if not disturbing, portion of the Wiki entry is about the anglerfish reproductive habits. Males are born as tiny little creatures with no digestive system and a keen sense of underwater smell, which allows him to find a suitable female anglerfish and bite one of her flanking sides. At that point, enzymes are released which causes the two to slowly merge into one organism, with the male mutating into a simple set of gonads that release sperm into the female’s bloodstream. Any males that do not find a female simply die.
Every time I take a look at the reproductive strategies of other species, the whole “asking someone out on a date” thing no longer looks as scary.