Thu, Sep 1, 2011
A school of fish. (Photo courtesy of David Burdick / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
BY DAN GRECH
Here in South Florida we’re used to hearing all kinds of birds sing. But how often do you hear fish sing? It turns out that fish sing when they are ready to mate. Dan Grech set out on a pontoon boat in Stuart, about two hours north of Miami, to hear this unique mating call.
He was accompanied by Vero Beach scientist Dr. Grant Gilmore, who is a world-renowned expert in fish song. He started about 35 years ago trying to determine which fish species make sounds and why. He discovered that fish seek out the cleanest water to mate. Stuart’s water quality is high, which explains why 400 species of fish can be found in the area’s bodies of water.
The gathering of the fish at night, expressing themselves through song, is reminiscent of a nightclub. It’s mostly the male fish that sing. Only one species of female fish sing – the black drum. So what does fish song sound like? Take our quiz below to see if you can identify which sound belongs to which fish.