Giant fish orgy breaks noise record

"No one anticipated fish would be this loud."
"No one anticipated fish would be this loud." Photo credit: Getty

A massive fish orgy could be so loud that nearby marine mammals could lose their hearing, scientists warn.

A new report published in Biology Letters studies the reproduction of the Gulf corvina, a species of fish that lives in the Gulf of California.

Every year the species' entire population gathers to breed off the coast of Mexico. The males produce a thumping sound to attract the females, together from 179 to 190 decibels loud.

"At first, we thought our equipment was broken," says study co-author Brad Erisman, a fisheries ecologist at the University of Texas at Austin.

"No one anticipated fish would be this loud."

The report authors compare the noise to "a really loud machine gun with multiple rapid sound pulses" or "a crowd cheering at a stadium or perhaps a really loud beehive".

"These spawning events are among the loudest wildlife events found on planet Earth," study co-author Timothy Rowell wrote.

It could be "the loudest sound ever recorded for a fish species", so loud it could damage the hearing of the animals such as dolphins, seals and sea lions that prey on the fish.

"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," Mr Rowell wrote.

However, there are fears the giant fish orgy could lead to the species' extinction.

At least two million corvinas are fished per year, leading to their steady decline.

"Lots of fishes are heavily exploited and endangered because of this amazing behaviour where they come together to spawn, which makes them extremely vulnerable," Mr Erisman says.

Newshub.