Tag: Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Grunts of the Two-Bladdered, Three-Spined Toadfish Are More Like Birdsong Than You'd Think

By Veronique Greenwood | May 12, 2011 10:27 am

toadfishIn this lab image, the toadfish’s twin bladders
are visible in the middle of its body.

There’s nothing like a bizarre fish call to shake you out of your complacency about the universe. With that in mind, we bring you the bottom-feeding three-spined toadfish, which produces its foghorn hoots and guttural grunts by vibrating the muscles around its two swim bladders, the sacs of air that keep it afloat. And these aren’t just any hoots and grunts, a new study reveals—some of these cries have qualities that have been seen the animal kingdom over, from babies’ cries to frog calls to bird song, but never before seen in fish, though fish have been known to make an incredible array of sounds (really!).

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