Melbourne: Fish are more clever than you
thought. They communicate with each other in a secret language of grunts, growls, chirps and pops, a new study has revealed.
Researchers in New Zealand have discovered that the
underwater world is abuzz with the sound of fish sweet-talking
the opposite sex, warning others of danger, giving directions,
and general background chatter.
"Predators may even hunt out prey by intercepting fish
talk. All fish can hear but not all can make sound -- pops and
other sounds made by vibrating their swim bladder, a muscle
they can contract," the `New Zealand Herald` quoted researcher
Shahriman Ghazali of Auckland University as saying.
For their study, the researchers placed groups of fish
into tanks in a laboratory, gave them a few weeks to settle
in, and monitored them using an underwater microphone and
instruments that detect water movement.
It emerged that gurnard are among the most talkative,
making distinctive grunts and keeping up a pattern of chatter
throughout the day. Cod, on the other hand, stay mostly
silent, except while spawning when they become very vocal.
"The hypothesis is that they are using the sound as a
synchronisation so that the male and female release their eggs
at the same time for fertilisation. Outside spawning season, you won`t hear a sound from them," Ghazali said.
According to the researchers, the next step is to
decipher the contexts for different types of communication.
"This is the next step. We are 99 per cent sure
they are fish sounds. Now we want to find out what the sounds
mean. The main reasons appear to be attracting mates, scaring
off predators, and orientating themselves around reefs," he