Purring, Clucking, Burping and Humming...Fish!

A Sea of Sound

1.  Many fish make noises. Imagine purrs, clucks, burps, grunts and humming. Scientists listen to this ocean chorus using underwater microphones or hydrophones.

2.  When it is time to spawn, many important Florida fish species produce courtship sounds. Some grind their teeth or make a popping noise with their fins.

3.  Most fish vibrate special sonic muscles against a swimbladder, an air-filled sac inside their bodies. These muscles “play” the swimbladder like a musical instrument! Usually it is the male fish that makes these vibrating sounds.

4.  The Gulf toadfish holds the record for the fastest rate of pulsing its sonic muscles – up to 400 times a second!

5.  Scientists can map where spotted seatrout are spawning by listening to their courtship sounds. A sound map can help locate and protect critical fish habitats.

6.  Fishes in the drum family are loud singers! They are so noisy that they can be heard above the water. Drum fish include spotted seatrout, sand seatrout and silver perch.

7.  Some fish make sounds day and night, while others, like spotted seatrout, start at dusk and carry on through the night.

8.  Dolphins eat sound-producing fish such as croakers and toadfish. Scientists think they find them by listening for their sounds. Dolphin whistles have been shown to suppress the chorusing of some species. These sounds were recorded at 1am in Pine Island Sound, Florida. You can hear silver perch in the background!