New research reveals that clownfish (Pomacentridae) produce sounds in order to establish and defend their breeding status.
Clownfish live in social groups unique among fish. In their groups, the largest fish develops as a female and the second largest fish develops as a male. The rest of the group remains gender-neutral unless something happens to the female. If she dies, the group shifts up to replace her.
The study determined that clownfish make two distinct noises: one is aggressive (produced with threat postures) and one is submissive (produced with head shaking movements). Smaller fish produce shorter pulses and higher frequency noises than larger fish.
This discovery is particularly interesting because other pomacentrids produce sounds for mate attraction but that’s not the case with clownfish; the sounds they make help maintain the status quo.
To learn more:
- Find the full study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, here: Overview on the Diversity of Sounds Produced by Clownfishes (Pomacentridae): Importance of Acoustic Signals in Their Peculiar Way of Life
- Check out this article to learn how clownfish produce sounds: Clownfish Communicate By Rapping–Their Teeth
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