Researchers record fish singing dawn chorus

Scientists have discovered that fish sing at certain times of the day much like birds. Over an 18-month period, they monitored various choruses produced by species off the coast of Australia.

The researchers from Curtin University in Australia and Exeter University in the UK identified seven different choruses used by fish at dawn and dusk.

“We are only just beginning to appreciate the complexities involved and still have only a crude idea of what is going on in the undersea acoustic environment,” Robert McCauley from Curtin University explained.

A midshipman fish. Image credit: Goode & Bean/Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have known for some time that fish sing for specific purposes, such as for reproduction. Male midshipman fish, which live off the Pacific coast of North America, emit a low humming sound after they have built nests to attract females. The sound of large numbers of them singing at once has been likened to an “orchestra of mournful oboes” and reportedly keeps houseboat owners awake at night in San Francisco.

Scientists examining these fish have found evidence suggesting that they were the first animals to evolve the ability to vocalise around 400 million years ago.

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