RESEARCH: Fish can sing, researchers say

Marine biologists have found that fish can sing.

Some marine biologists have recorded fish singing. The sound recordings were captured by two sea-noise loggers (marine biologists) near the Port Hedland shore in Western Australia and also 21 kilometres (13 miles) away from shore. The sounds were recorded for 24 hours a day for seven days a week for 18 months. 

Robert McCauley and colleagues at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, recorded vocal fish in the coastal waters off Port Hedland in Western Australia over an 18-month period, and identified seven distinct fish singing, happening at dawn and at dusk. 

The Blackspotted Croaker makes a low “foghorn” song.

Researcher Miles Parsons recorded the grunting singing from a species of Terapontid. 

The Batfish makes a “ba-ba-ba” song.

Robert McCauley has been listening to fish for nearly 30 years. He says that sound plays an important role in various fish behaviours, such as reproduction, feeding, and territorial disputes. 

Steve Simpson, a marine biologist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom found that nocturnal predatory fish use calls to stay together to hunt, while fish that are active during the day use sound to defend their territory.

The magazine New Scientist printed an article called ‘Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds’ on 21 September 2016. The research study is in the science journal Bioacoustics.

DOI: 10.1080/09524622.2016.1227940

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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