These fish sing only at night. But why?

In one of the marvels of nature, males of a fish species called the plainfin midshipman that dwells in Pacific coastal waters from Alaska to Baja California court females during breeding season using a nocturnal “love song” with an otherworldly sound.

Scientists have wondered what makes these fish sing only at night. A studypublished on Thursday provides the answer.

Laboratory experiments showed that the fish’s vocalization, a low-frequency hum like a foghorn, is controlled by a light-driven internal clock and the hormone melatonin, known to govern sleep and wake cycles, researchers said.

“They are among the vocal champions of the marine environment along with whales and dolphins,” said Cornell University professor of neurobiology and behavior Andrew Bass. “The production and hearing of vocal signals plays a central role in their social interactions and reproductive behavior.”

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Source: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0922/These-fish-sing-only-at-night.-But-why

 

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