Who’d have thought it? Fish have their own dawn chorus!

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Batfish are among the fish recorded singing an underwater dawn chorus — scroll down to hear it. Image by Alamy.

Scientists monitoring the ocean around Western Australia have found that fish sing a dawn chorus, in a remarkably similar way to the more well known early morning birdsong.
 

Researchers from the UK’s Exeter University and Curtin University in Perth, Australia, identified seven fish choruses over an 18-month period using a pair of sea-noise loggers placed both near the shore and offshore around Port Headland. They found that the fish chorus was most likely to be heard at dawn and dusk and between early spring and late summer.

The sounds recorded by the researchers included a deep ‘foghorn’ call made by the Black jewfish, Protonibea diacanthus, another which they described as sounding similar to ‘the buzzer in the Operation board game’, which was emitted by a Terapontid — there are several species of Terapontidae found in this area, including the Fourlined grunter, Pelates quadrilineatus, which is known to produce sound. There was also a ‘ba-ba-ba’ call from a batfish. You can hear these calls below.

“I’ve been listening to fish squawks, burble and pops for nearly 30 years now, and they still amaze me with their variety,” lead author Robert McCauley of Curtin University told New Scientist.