When it comes to love, life somehow finds a way of imitating art. It’s not much different in the wild, where you can find beautiful and extraordinary storylines in the way some creatures play the mating game. Check out these amazing animal mating rituals (and the iconic pop culture moments they remind us of):


1. Galapagos waved albatrosses wait patiently

They say good things come to those who wait. That’s what waved albatrosses bank on when they return to the Galapagos Islands once a year to reunite with their lifelong companions for breeding season. As the years go by and the albatrosses get older, there’s always the possibility that one of them won’t make it back, but these patient and loyal birds just keep waiting. Kind of like in The Lake House (2004), when Alex (Keanu Reeves) decides to wait two whole years to meet his magic mailbox pen pal Kate (Sandra Bullock) for their first real date, but he mysteriously doesn’t show up. However, just like Alex and Kate, waved albatrosses waste no time in being incredibly affectionate when they do reunite, as you can see above.

2. Green turtles have brief but intense flings

Sometimes our first love can be a fleeting, passionate affair, which is the same for green sea turtles. It takes 30 years of maturity before a female green turtle has her first encounter with a male mate. Courtship begins in shallow Malaysian waters with gentle, coordinated circling that is truly enchanting to watch. Together, the couple surfaces to take their first breath together, which marks the beginning of several hours of mating. It’s just like a scene right out of Titanic (1997) — yes, you know the one. Especially when the male turtle holds on tightly to keep the female all to himself, the Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) imagery is hard to ignore. Of course, what’s a good romance without a love triangle? Green turtle couples often have to outswim about a half-dozen Billy Zane turtles that also want to claim the female. The rival turtles eventually get distracted by attacking each other, giving the couple a chance to break away.

3. Flame bowerbirds build to impress

There are few things more romantic than a thoughtful DIY gift. Male flame bowerbirds spend days building elaborate structures out of twigs just to impress a female. It’s basically the bowerbird version of The Notebook (2004), specifically when Noah (Ryan Gosling) built a dream house for Allie (Rachel McAdams) to win back her love. Just like Noah did with the blue shutters, male bowerbirds add all the little personal touches to dress up their creations: flowers, berries, and colourful shells. Come on, how can anyone say no to that? Take a closer look at the decor-mad mating rituals of the bowerbird »

4. Japanese puffer fish show off their artistic talent

In a technicolor, underwater world, it's hard for a male Japanese puffer fish to get noticed. With his dull colours, he’s practically invisible to those around him. But to compensate, he uses a unique, extraordinary talent to attract a female. He arranges the sand, with mathematical perfection, into elegant and intricately designed “crop circles” and uses shells to decorate the ridges of his artwork. He then lures the female into his sand lair (in the style of The Phantom of the Opera of course) and she takes a moment to inspect his work (just like Christine did). She never would have noticed him otherwise, but he certainly has her attention now — enough to let him fertilize her eggs and lay them in his sand construction. But while he stays until the eggs hatch, she leaves him as his art fades away. Watch more on the puffer fish’s incredible nest-building behaviour »

5. Manakins need their wingmen

Long-tailed manakin alpha males know the importance of a good wingman if they want to avoid flying solo in life. For seven long years, a master and apprentice pair of manakins practise a meticulously synchronised, flamboyant ballet before they’re ready to perform a private dance for a female. They show off their impeccable timing and perfect synchronization that rival the moves of Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan in A Night at the Roxbury (1998). But once the pair successfully impress the female, the bromance is over and there’s no confusion as to which one she’ll choose — only the master gets a chance to mate with the female. Read more about manakins and other master-apprentice dynamics »

6. Peacock spiders bust a move

It takes two to tango, but when a male peacock spider gets the attention of a potential female mate, their dance becomes a chase. In fact, the peacock spider has to simultaneously dance his way to survival while jumping out of her reach — otherwise, if she's not impressed, she's having him for dinner. So the peacock spider pulls out all the stops to woo her with his brilliantly coloured fan and agile, lateral movements a la MC Hammer. How fitting, since U Can't Touch This seems like an appropriate theme song for these jumping spiders.