Fish actually have quite a lot to say. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Pogrebnoj-Alexandroff
You might not have heard them do it, but fish are capable of making all manner of croaks, chirps and other sounds.
Watching fish swim around in the water tends to be a calming, serene experience, with the only audible sound being a few gentle splashes and the movements of the water's surface.
With the correct audio equipment, however, it is possible to open up a world of hidden sounds - a cacophony of mysterious underwater 'voices' communicating with one another through the depths.
For the longest time, it was thought that such acoustic communication in fish was rare, but now researchers have found that it is in fact extremely commonplace.
"They've probably been overlooked because fishes are not easily heard or seen, and the science of underwater acoustic communication has primarily focused on whales and dolphins," said Andrew Bass - an evolutionary neuroscientist at Cornell University.
"But fishes have voices too."
To learn more, researchers investigated the ray-finned (Actinopterygii) group of fishes to determine various physiological features that enable them to make sounds.
"They can grind their teeth or make movement noise in the water, and we do see a number of specializations that are involved," said Cornell's Aaron Rice.
"Probably the most common adaptation are muscles associated with swim bladders. In fact, the swim bladder muscles of the toadfish are the fastest contracting vertebrate skeletal muscles."
"These are high-performing adaptations."
You can check out an example audio recording of fish sounds below.
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