"You Rock My World!"
Humans give jewelry and flowers to woo their mate. Penguins give…rocks.
The gentoo and macaroni penguins at the Tennessee Aquarium received their nesting rocks this past Thursday. Bringing these rocks to potential mates is an act of courtship and marks the beginning of the 2015 breeding season. As in, “you rock, baby.”
Male gentoo penguins shift through piles of pebbles to find the smoothest one to present to his choice companion. If the female approves of this mating request, she puts the stone in her nest.
The macaroni penguins also use these rocks for breeding. They tend to create their nests of small stones and mud.
Gentoo and macaroni penguins generally mate with the same partner year after year. Unless of course, something unfortunate happens to one of the mates, like being relocated to a zoo. Then the rock courting/breeding cycle starts all over again.
Make sure to stop by Penguin’s Rock on your next Tennessee Aquarium visit. Penguin Keeper talks are 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily in the Ocean Journey section, Level 2. Now you’ll know the significance of a penguin waddling up to another with a rock in its beak. Could it work for you?