the Kyoto Aqarium’s 2020 Penguin Relationship Flowchart

Penguins, the way they waddle around and protect their eggs, are often thought of as cute, cuddly and romantic. But those who observe them for extended periods know they have a dark side. Two aquariums in Japan, Kyoto Aquarium and Sumida Aquarium, keep obsessive tabs on their penguins and maintain an updated flowchart that visualizes all their penguin drama.

Penguins are highly social species. They like being with others and, like humans, this can often lead to polyamorous and sometimes scandalous situations. Penguin drama can include serious crushes and heartbreaks but also adultery and egg-stealing. Penguins may even develop crushes on their caretakers. And these Japanese aquariums have it all charted in a flowchart that can be studied for hours.

The aquariums keep high-resolution versions of each. Here are the links for the Kyoto Aquarium and the one for Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium. And for 2023, the aquariums have added in interactive “history” feature where some penguins past dating history is documented and available at the click of a button.

According to the aquarium’s caretakers, the penguin’s romantic escapades are fairly easy to observe. For example, wing-flapping is a sign of affection and couples can be seen grooming each other. Penguins who are getting over a break-up will often refuse to eat.

Someone needs to give these penguins their own reality TV show!

This article was originally published July 2020 but has been updated to reflect most-recent information