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Scientists solve mystery of the singing fish


Posted on Saturday, 24 September, 2016 | Comment icon 5 comments

The midshipman fish possesses some unique vocal talents. Image Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Back in the 1980's, California houseboat residents had reported hearing a strange humming noise at night.
Resembling the low hum of a ship's foghorn on a particularly misty evening, the peculiar sound prompted explanations ranging from broken sewage pipes to secret military weapons testing.

As it turned out however the noise was actually coming from the midshipman fish, a particularly unusual nocturnal species which begins 'singing' at midnight to help attract a mate.

Their peculiar sound and behavior was previously documented by Charles Greene back in 1924.

"Greene referred to midshipman as the California singing fish," said Professor Andrew Bass who headed up a new study on the subject. "We discovered that females are also sonic, but it's only territorial males that build nests and produce the hum to attract females to [those] nests."

According to the researchers, it is melatonin - the same hormone that helps humans sleep - that prompts the fish to wake up at the correct time and begin their nightly courtship performance.

Some recordings of the midshipman fish in action can be heard in the video below.


Source: BBC News | Comments (5)

Tags: Midshipman, Fish

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by third_eye on 24 September, 2016, 16:12
well hum a few lines and the fishes takes it from there ... ~
Comment icon #2 Posted by seeder on 24 September, 2016, 18:00
much like this topic  
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jaded1 on 25 September, 2016, 16:34
Professor Andrew Bass.  Sounds fishy to me .
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer on 26 September, 2016, 16:56
I hope the fish in the picture wasn't taken out of the water just for the picture.  That's kind of cruel.
Comment icon #5 Posted by MissJatti on 28 September, 2016, 13:03
That humming is making me sleepy


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