Scientists Record Fish Singing a Dawn Chorus Like Birds


A line of batfish possibly ready to bust into song. Image credit: iStock

Most fish aren’t prized for their musical talents, but vocalization is an important tool used by many species. Chirps, hums, and croaks can help fish attract mates or keep track of one another when hunting in the dark. According to a recent study published in Bioacoustics, some fish may share even more in common with songbirds than we previously thought. Researchers at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, have recorded seven unique fish choruses ringing out off the west Australian coast at dusk and dawn, New Scientist reports.

The overlapping calls were recorded over an 18-month period in the waters off Port Hedland. You can listen to an example of three of the fish choirs below. The bullfrog-like call comes from the Black Jewfish, the buzzing from a member of the Terapontid family, and the softer “ba-ba-ba” noise from the batfish.

As is the case with many bird species, the fish choruses followed distinct diurnal patterns, swelling at sunrise and sunset. The fish recorded by the team represent a small fraction of the 800 fish species known to produce sound. Such adaptations can proves useful for researchers: Scientists sometimes use fish calls to monitor underwater ecosystems when water visibility is low.

[h/t New Scientist]

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