Contributed by Marielle Grenade-Willis
Animal courtship occurs in many different forms from mating calls to ritualistic dances. A recent study published in Biology Letters found one of the loudest displays of marine courting in the world where the Colorado River meets the Gulf of California in Mexico. The Gulf corvina, a silvery saltwater fish, congregates here in hordes numbering as many as 1.5 million to initiate spawning every spring. Likened to being at a rock concert, the mating calls emitted by the male corvina were estimated to be “the loudest sounds recorded in a marine fish and among the loudest animal sounds recorded in aquatic environments.” The downside to this amazing mating display? The expected convergence of a fish in just one geographic area each year makes the corvina especially vulnerable to being over harvested. According to research published earlier in 2017, the overabundance of fishermen seems to be an ongoing issue for fish endemic to this area as the Gulf of California supplies 75% of Mexico’s fish supply. Allowing a species like the Gulf corvina to realize its bodily integrity capabilities means humans should be more aware of its species-specific reproductive needs and not exploit this unique but susceptible period of life.