Tuna Tornado: An Event that Happens Just a Couple Times a Year

January 12, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

Diver surrounded by a wall of Tuna
Photo credit: Screen capture of YouTube video posted by Animal Wire

It is made up of over 100,000 fish!

With all the terrible tornado movies that have come out, such as Metal Tornado, Ice Twisters, and the ever-so-popular Sharknado I, II, and III, it was only a matter of time before another ocean-dwelling animal took advantage of the hype.  The only difference — this tornado is real.

It is nicknamed the “Tuna Tornado” and it occurs only a couple of times a year.  This living tornado is made of over 100,000 Jack Tuna — each averaging over three feet in length.

What is happening in the video posted below is these tuna coming together to spawn.  Like many fish, tuna do most of their sexual reproduction outside of their bodies.  These tuna are releasing large volumes of eggs and sperm in one place, and they keep it all in one spot by circling round and round.

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What is remarkable about this process is not only its sheer size, but the process also guarantees a certain level of genetic variability since everyone is adding their genes randomly into the mix.

So you may be wondering what happens to these fertilized eggs?  Once fertilized, the eggs float around in the ocean for one or two days before they are born, and in about a month they look like smaller versions of their parents.  However, during this time, they are considered plankton — one of the largest ocean food sources.  

Since there are a lot of predators that feed on plankton, only a small number of these fertilized eggs actually develop into a mature fish.  It really comes down to luck.

This breeding ritual is so fascinating.  Take a look for yourself.



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