A Melbourne aquarium has issued a very important update on gay penguin couple Klaus and Jones, who are nesting together again as mating season gets underway.
Sea Life Melbourne announced the two male gentoo penguins (above) had coupled up last year.
Gentoo penguins usually remain with the same mate for the entire breeding and nesting season, which occurs once a year just before the start of spring.
They missed out on fostering an egg last year, but the aquarium has now confirmed Klaus and Jones have “rekindled their love” and are together again this season.
“This season, the colony has a mix of existing pairs recoupling again as experienced nest-building partners, as well as new couples trying their luck with a new love match,” Sea Life Melbourne explained.
“Although same-sex male pairs are unable to fertilise and lay an egg between themselves, Klaus and Jones can be given a ‘dummy egg’ to protect during the nesting period and practice their dad skills.”
The aquarium shared footage of Klaus and Jones at their nest, as well as their neighbours KT and Doogie; Mouse and Lambington; and Tuna and Nigel-Blossom.
@sealifemelbourneaquarium it’s nesting season again here at SEA LIFE Melbourne! Here are our couples ! #nestingseason #penguins#gentoopenguin #sealife #sealifemelbourne #whatsonmelbourne #trending ♬ som original – Adriano Ricardo
Lead bird keeper Tanith Davis previously explained the aquarium’s penguin team often give abandoned eggs to the same-sex male penguin pairs to foster.
“Same-sex penguin pairs will court each other and incubate an egg exactly the same way as a male-female pair,” she said.
“As male-male pairs can’t lay their own eggs, we will sometimes foster an egg to them from another pair.
“Sea Life Melbourne has had many same-sex couples in our breeding history, and they’ve been doting parents.”
All the penguins court their partners by bringing ice pebbles to each other, the aquarium says.
It’s their mating ritual, and the couple will later use the stones to build a nest and incubate eggs together.
The penguins don’t have specific gender roles, with the males and females sharing the parenting responsibilities equally.
Gay penguins Klaus and Jones missed out on fostering egg last year
Unfortunately last year, there weren’t any spare eggs to give the aquarium’s gay couples to foster. Only one gentoo penguin, fluffy youngster Chips, was hatched at the aquarium last season.
Elsewhere, world-famous gay penguin couple Sphen and Magic have hatched two chicks from foster eggs in their Sydney aquarium colony.
The gay penguins went viral and made worldwide headlines when Sea Life Sydney’s penguin team announced the two males were “inseparable” during breeding season in 2018.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.