Singing Cod: Rhythmic Grunts May Attract a Mate

Written by on April 16, 2014 in Fish, Marine Life

A new study on the sounds that cod and pollack make during mating season investigated why the fish make these sounds and what they mean. The research suggests that male cod may ‘sing’ to females.

Atlantic cod.

Atlantic cod. Photo credit: NOAA.

Cod has previously been recorded making grunting noises during spawning season, but the new research reveals that the sounds are produced in a rhythmic pattern and could be used by females to select a mate. Pollack had never been recorded making these noises before.

“We already knew male cod produce these sounds, we just wanted to dig a bit deeper, and find out if the sound changed over time to indicate that a spawning event might be occurring, explained Lindsay Wilson, a NERC-funded PhD student at the Scottish Association for Marine Science who led the research. “But it was really exciting to find pollack also produce these sounds.”

Based on recordings, the researchers noticed that the fish were more active at night — they were louder and the grunts “appeared to have a pattern.”

They don’t yet know the reason behind the rhythmic grunting, but it could be used to attract females.

To learn more and hear the noises, check out the news release: Cod may serenade females with rhythmic grunts.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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