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What Does the Betta Mating Dance Look Like?

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Many kinds of animals have intricate rituals that they partake in prior to mating, betta fish (Betta splendens) included. These freshwater fish actually do a detailed dance right before spawning. Female and male betta fish participate in these detailed mating dances together. While the dances might appear fascinating to outsiders, they're often preceded by lots of aggressive pursuit by the males.

Mating Dance and Preparation

When betta fish are on the verge of joining together in spawning, their body coloration takes on a brighter look than ever. Once this happens, they stretch out their fins and commence their mating dances. They rotate around each other, using their noses to gently push on the other. Once the wooing process is finally over, the male specimens turn the females over and then envelope them using their bodies. They do this firmly. The males then release the females from their clutches and promptly plant themselves right under the females' bodies. Male bettas aren't usually overly aggressive during mating dances, but they're often extremely fierce in the wooing activities that lead up to the dances.

Egg Depositing

With the fathers-to-be waiting below, the females begin depositing their eggs. They do this in groups of between three and seven eggs, until they deposit a few hundred in total. The females appear motionless during the process. The eggs sluggishly fall and the males retrieve them via their mouths, covering them in layers of mucus. The males then return to their nests and puff the eggs into them. Their nests are made out of bubbles of the males' saliva. The males do this over and over until the eggs are fully deposited.

Pre-Dance Activities

While dancing in betta fish is an indication that mating is to come, it often doesn't come out of nowhere. Female betta fish reluctantly accept the moving forward of the mating process, but usually after being repeatedly badgered and surrounded by the males, often to a violent degree. When mating starts, the females go just below their nests the males made. When they do this, they generally swim with their fins tight against their physiques. They also keep their heads pointed downward. Once the males and females meet like this, they usually start their mating dances.

Male and Female Bettas Together

When male and female bettas are in the same tanks, spawning generally occurs. The males often pester the females greatly, not only as spawning is going on, but also in advance and after it's over. When female bettas don't have adequate hiding spots to get away from the persistent males, it frequently even leads to fatal results. The males often rapidly pursue the females, biting them on their bodies and fins. They sometimes remove bits of flesh as they do this. By the time egg depositing occurs, the females are usually tired out.