Counting Fishes by Their Love Calls

[This story first appeared on Hakai Magazine on 3 August 2017]

                              Cover photo: Octavio Aburto

During the rising spring tides from February to June, the usually quiet Colorado River Delta is overcome by a low-pitched buzz. The drone pervades the estuary, and hundreds of fishermen, hunkered down in small boats known as pangas, follow the sound. As the fishermen make their approach, the buzz turns to a roar.

In the water below, more than a million Gulf corvinas churn the water in a spawning frenzy. But the noise is more than just the sound of fish thrashing—it’s the mating chorus of hundreds of thousands of males.

 

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