Acoustic communication in fishes:Temperature plays a role

Friedrich Ladich

Temperature affects peripheral and central mechanisms of signal production and detection in ectothermic animals. This study reviews for the first time the effects of temperature on acoustic communication in fishes and analyses whether changes in sound properties are coupled to changes in auditory sensitivities. Effects of temperature on sound production have been studied in approximately one dozen families of teleosts. Calling activity increased or was unaffected by temperature, in the latter case probably because seasonal, daily and lunar rhythms also influence mating behaviour and calling. Sound characteristics (pulse repetition rate, fundamental frequency) are positively correlated with temperature if pulses are directly based on sonic muscle contractions. In fishes possessing other sonic mechanisms, the dominant frequency of their pulsatile pectoral sounds may increase as well. Auditory sensitivities were mainly determined in otophysines, which possess enhanced hearing abilities. Studies revealed that hearing increased with temperature, in particular at higher frequencies. We know close to nothing about whether temperature-dependent changes in sound characteristics are coupled to changes in auditory sensitivity or mate choice. Female midshipman toadfish appear to choose males based on call frequency, which varies with temperature. Future studies need to address several topics: (i) temperature effects on sound production have to be separated from other sources of variation; (ii) effects on hearing need to be studied in many more taxa; (iii) potential negative effects of global warming on acoustic communication (because of temperature coupling) need to be investigated because fish constitute a major source of protein for humans.

Fish and Fisheries
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106051 Behavioural biology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Oceanography, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Aquatic Science, Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
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