Biologists discover farting Herrings!!

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Biologists discover farting Herrings!!

OK, just how do you explain to your kids what you do for a job "Son, I work all day investigating why fish fart".
More on site :)

Biologists have linked a mysterious, underwater farting sound to bubbles coming out of a herring's anus. No fish had been known to emit sound from its anus nor to be capable of producing such a high-pitched noise.

"It sounds just like a high-pitched raspberry," says Ben Wilson of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (Listen here, .wav file). Wilson and his colleagues cannot be sure why herring make this sound, but initial research suggests that it might explain the puzzle of how shoals keep together after dark.

"Surprising and interesting" is how aquatic acoustic specialist Dennis Higgs, of the University of Windsor in Ontario, describes the discovery. It is the first case of a fish potentially using high frequency for communication, he believes.

Arthur Popper, an aquatic bio-acoustic specialist at the University of Maryland, US, is also intrigued. "I'd not have thought of it, but fish do very strange and diverse things," he says

Grunts and buzzes

Fish are known to call out to potential mates with low "grunts and buzzes",
produced by wobbling a balloon of air called the swim bladder located in the abdomen. The swim bladder inflates and deflates to adjust the fish's buoyancy.

The biologists initially assumed that the swim bladder was also producing the high-pitched sound they had detected. But then they noticed that a stream of bubbles expelled from the fish's anus corresponded exactly with the timing of the noise. So a more likely cause was air escaping from the swim bladder through the anus.

It was at this point that the team named the noise Fast Repetitive Tick (FRT). But Wilson points that, unlike a human fart, the sounds are probably not caused by digestive gases because the number of sounds does not change when the fish are fed.

The researchers also tested whether the fish were farting from fear, perhaps to sound an alarm. But when they exposed fish to a shark scent, there was again no change in the number of FRTs.:j
By netchicken: posted on 11-11-2003

I have a possible reason for this madness. I was researching new fish that I got for my aqurium, and I came across this information.

The corydoras fish is known to rapidly swim up torwards the surface of the water and smack the top before jetting down. They do this because in order to survive, the fish must actually inhale air. I cannot find the citation, but I will give it as soon as I find it, but this is related to buoyancy. The fish need the air in their swim bladders to float up and down, and the excess air comes out the anus.

There is also another family of fish that breathe air. That is the Anabantids group. These fish have an organ that functions much like a lung. It is called the Labyrinth organ. They have this to survive in areas with low water circulation. This information I obtained from a book at my house entitled: Aquariums for Dummies by Maddy and Mic Hargrove.
By wessubba8888: posted on 16-11-2003

Hey thanks Wess, thats really interesting, I suppose they are like those xalotyls, don't they have lungs as well?
By netchicken: posted on 17-11-2003

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