Distress sounds of thorny catfishes emitted underwater and in air: characteristics and potential significance

L. Knight, Friedrich Ladich

    Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


    Thorny catfishes produce stridulation (SR) sounds using their pectoral fins and drumming (DR) sounds via a swimbladder mechanism in distress situations when hand held in water and in air. It has been argued that SR and DR sounds are aimed at different receivers (predators) in different media. The aim of this study was to analyse and compare sounds emitted in both air and water in order to test different hypotheses on the functional significance of distress sounds. Five representatives of the family Doradidae were investigated. Fish were hand held and sounds emitted in air and underwater were recorded (number of sounds, sound duration, dominant and fundamental frequency, sound pressure level and peak-to-peak amplitudes). All species produced SR sounds in both media, but DR sounds could not be recorded in air for two species. Differences in sound characteristics between media were small and mainly limited to spectral differences in SR. The number of sounds emitted decreased over time, whereas the duration of SR sounds increased. The dominant frequency of SR and the fundamental frequency of DR decreased and sound pressure level of SR increased with body size across species. The hypothesis that catfish produce more SR sounds in air and more DR sounds in water as a result of different predation pressure (birds versus fish) could not be confirmed. It is assumed that SR sounds serve as distress sounds in both media, whereas DR sounds might primarily be used as intraspecific communication signals in water in species possessing both mechanisms.

    Seiten (von - bis)4068-4078
    FachzeitschriftJournal of Experimental Biology
    PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2014

    ÖFOS 2012

    • 106051 Verhaltensbiologie


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