Researchers have recently discovered an interesting habit of a so-called singing fish. This species is spread in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and the individuals have one of the most amazing courtship rituals in the animal kingdom. The males seem to sing specific songs in the middle of the night to please their female mates.
A team of researchers at the Cornell University was intrigued about the peculiar habit of an ocean fish species to make particular sounds at night. The singing fish is actually called plainfin midshipman, and the males have the extraordinary task of courting females. Scientists decided to study them in their laboratories and decipher the mystery of their songs.
According to the specialists’ study, the circadian rhythm of the fish triggers the nocturnal behavior. The process is also related to hormones and the reproductive functions of the fish. Circadian rhythms can be encountered in all living creatures, including humans, and they are responsible for basic things, like sleeping hours.
The researchers’ observations show that the inner biological clock of plainfin midshipman fish announces them about the breeding season. During this important period, the courtship ritual is much more important than sleep.
Andrew Bass was the main author of the study. He stated that the hormones could send the right messages to the brain of plainfin midshipman fish. Later signals trigger their interesting behavior of singing by night.
The scientists noted that the fish produce these distinctive sounds by filling their abdomen with air. They noted that a single hum of the singing fish could last even for two hours. By studying the fish’s behavior, they observed that male plainfin midshipman individuals tend to build their nests close to the shore. Their action is meant to attract females. However, when it comes to the singing part, males tend to sing together, like an impressive choir.
Experts in marine life add plainfin midshipman fish to the list of animals in the ocean which use powerful sounds. Whales and dolphins are already champions in the field and master the technique of echolocation. The process helps them both communicate and navigate. Researchers observed that the nocturnal sounds also play a very important role in the process of socialization of the singing fish.
The researchers in charge of the study concluded that the plainfin midshipman fish is one of the fascinating creatures in the oceans and land due to its singing qualities.
The study on the mysterious singing fish was published in Current Biology, on September 22.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia
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