A fish that sounds like a “really loud machine gun” unsurprisingly has really loud sex, as a team of unfortunate researchers discovered. It’d be one thing if their blaring bang sessions were innocuous, but it seems some marine life might actually suffer because of them.
Each spring, the loud sex-havers in question, known as the Gulf corvina, travel to the Colorado River Delta to bone. In 2014, two researchers spent four days there studying these spawning sessions using underwater microphones. Between March and May, the researchers say they could have witnessed up to 1.5 million corvina, screaming like a chorus from hell all the way. The team’s research was published Tuesday in Scientific Reports.
For those curious, here’s what a bunch of loud, horny fish sound like:
It’s worth noting that it’s only the male corvina who emit these loud croaks, in hopes of attracting females. The researchers recorded grunts as high as 192 decibels, which could hypothetically rupture a person’s eardrums. While this isn’t an immediate concern for humans — unless they hang out around fish orgies — it poses a huge problem for dolphins, sea lions, and other marine life that lives around Gulf corvina. The orgies could actually cause them to become deaf.
“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 the fish,” the study’s co-author Timothy Rowell from the University of San Diego told the AFP.
Sadly, Gulf corvina are dealing with some serious issues that are contributing to their population decline. During their spawning events, overfishing is particularly high, since fishers can hear the corvinas’ grunting. As a result, fishers net millions of corvina each spring, which is why the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Gulf corvina is “vulnerable” to extinction.
Hopefully, studying these loud, frisky fish will help conservation efforts. Yes they are loud and horny, but they deserve to live in peace.