A species of Mexican fish, the Gulf corvina, makes so much of noise during their reproductive orgies that they can make other sea creatures, like the dolphin, deaf.
In fact, fascinated scientists have called for the fish orgy’s preservation, which is being threatened by overfishing.
The Gulf Corvina Has Loud Mating Calls And Orgies
The mating call of the species sounds similar to an immensely noisy machine gun that has numerous and rapid pulses of sound. When millions of fish conglomerate yearly for spawning, the collective noise sounds as loud as a beehive or a stadium full of cheering crowd.
“The sound levels generated by chorusing is loud enough to cause at least temporary if not a permanent hearing loss in marine mammals that were observed preying on the fish,” said Timothy Rowell, coauthor of the study from the University of San Diego. “These spawning events are among the loudest wildlife events found on planet Earth and the loudest sound ever recorded for a fish species.”
Though the reproductive orgy has awed the scientists and they want to see the phenomenon preserved, the sound frequency generated by the Gulf corvina is loud enough to negatively impact the hearing ability of dolphins, seals, and sea lions. It could even deafen the sea animals, which surprisingly feed closeby to the spawning.
The research team eavesdropped on the spawning Gulf corvina with the help of specialized underwater sound equipment. The species assemble in the northernmost region of the Gulf of California in Mexico, at a single site in the Colorado River Delta.
Overfishing Of The Species Can End The Fascinating Spectacle Of Nature
The male Gulf corvina produces mating calls that are audible even above water and also reverberate through a fishing boat’s hull. In fact, the loud noise generated helps fishermen to harvest up to two tonnes of the fish per boat. A 500 boat fleet can catch nearly two million fish during the breeding season, which puts them in the peril of becoming endangered.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has said that the species is vulnerable to becoming extinct.
The research team added that keeping a check on the fish's mating call could enable scientists to track the number of fish for the purpose of conservation. The number of Gulf corvina that is getting caught seem to become smaller, indicating they are being netted faster than the species' reproduction ability, which is a sign of overfishing.
The researchers feel that the spawning spectacle or reproduction orgy deserves increased conservation and appreciation. Managers of fisheries should ensure that the beautiful spectacle of nature does not vanish.