If you’ve ever lived in an apartment building, chances are that you’ve probably overheard your neighbors or roommates getting it on. In the throes of passion, people can be overwhelmingly vocal. While their lust cries can be annoying, chances are that they won’t do much damage to your ears. Well, there is one animal who gets it on so loud, that they may be causing other animals to go deaf.
There’s a species of Mexican fish called the Gulf corvina, who let out an eardrum-blasting mating call. Each year, the corvina flock to the Gulf of California to get it on. The female corvina releases her unfertilized eggs into the water, and the males release sperm to fertilize the eggs. But, the males accompany their sperm release with an intense mating call.
“The collective chorus sounds like a crowd cheering at a stadium or perhaps a really loud beehive,” said Timothy Rowell, a co-author on a University of San Diego study on the phenomenon. He and his colleagues recorded the mating call with special underwater sound recording gear. What they recorded blew them away. Figuratively, not literally.
The fish gather in what can only be described as an “orgy” (a very unsexy one) each year. Scientists say that an individual male corvina unleashes a mating call that can be described as “a really loud machine gun.” They call out in a succession of pulses that thunder through the surrounding waters. These pulses may be causing surrounding animals to have hearing damage or loss.
“The sound levels generated by chorusing is loud enough to cause at least temporary if not permanent hearing loss in marine mammals that were observed preying on fish,” Rowell said. The call is so powerful it can even be heard above the water. It reverberates off the hulls of fishing boats, which draws the fisherman in to their spawning spot. One can’t help to think of Ulysses and the sirens.
The corvina are responsible for the loudest orgies in the animal kingdom. Well, maybe the fish never heard of Caligula, but they are certainly some kinky slippery creatures. “These spawning events are among the loudest wildlife events found on planet Earth,” Rowell said. He went on to say it is “the loudest sound ever recorded for a fish species.”
Despite their deafening cries, sea mammals like dolphins and sea lions still choose to feed in their spawning zone. Who needs the ability to hear when you’ve got a happy full belly? I guess dolphins have their priorities out of whack. Well, dolphins are all sort of perverted anyway, so they’re probably also there to see the show. Yeah, those dirty dolphins have crazy sex lives.
The fish gather at the Colorado River Delta in the Gulf. All the corvinas in the world gather in this one spot every spring for a few weeks. But, their drive to mate can be what is putting them in risk of extinction, the study says. During this mating season, a boat can carry away two tons of corvina.
That is only one boat, a fleet of 500 boats can net around two million fish each spring. Because of this, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed the Gulf corvina on the “vulnerable” to extinction list. Other fish, like Pacific Salmon, were also placed on the endangered species list because fisherman took advantage of their spawning time. Jeeze, can’t fish just get it on in peace?
The researchers want the fishermen and wildlife officials to preserve this spawning ritual. “A precautionary approach should be adopted by fisheries managers to ensure that this wildlife spectacle doesn’t disappear,” Rowell said. Poor fish, they are being cut down in their prime. The overfishing has even influenced the fish’s morphology, as overfishing has caused the corvina to become smaller in size.
Really, fisherman should be more respectful. How would they like it if they were getting it on, and suddenly someone threw a net over them and kidnapped them? See, they wouldn’t like it much at all. So, give the fish some space to spawn. if the waves are blasting like the arena on Super Bowl Sunday, don’t come a knocking.