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  • Fish acoustic signals associated with mating behaviour are typically low-frequency sounds produced by males when in close proximity to females. However, some species make sounds that serve the function and follow the design of advertisement calls, well known in insects, anurans, and birds. Close-range courtship acoustic signals may be used by females in mate assessment as they contain information of male quality such as size and condition. For example, sound-dominant frequency, amplitude, and fatigue resistance may signal body size whereas pulse period (i.e. muscle contraction rate) and calling activity are related with body condition in some species. Some signal features, such as sound pulse number, may carry multiple messages including size and condition. Playback experiments on mate choice of a restricted number of species suggest that females prefer vocal to silent males and may use sound frequency, amplitude, and mainly calling rateCalling ratewhen assessing males. The assessment of males by females becomes more challenging when males engage in choruses or when sounds are otherwise masked by anthropogenic noise but almost nothing is known about how these aspects affect mating decisions and fish reproductive success.

  • Fish represent the largest group of vertebrates and display the greatest diversity of auditory structures. However, studies addressing how the form and function of the auditory system change during development to enhance perception of the acoustic environment are rather sparse in this taxon compared to other vertebrate groups. An ontogenetic perspective of the auditory system in fishes provides a readily testable framework for understanding structure–function relationships. Additionally, studying ancestral models such as fish can convey valuable comparable information across vertebrates, as early developmental events are often evolutionary conserved. This chapter reviews the literature on the morphological development of the fish auditory system, with particular focus on the inner ear structures that evolve from an otic placode during early embryonic development and then continue to undergo differentiation and maturation in the postembryonic phase. Moreover, the chapter provides a systematic overview of how auditory sensitivity develops during ontogeny. Although most studies indicate a developmental improvement in auditory sensitivity, there is considerably species-specific variation. Lastly, the paucity of information and literature concerning the development of auditory capabilities for social communication in fishes is also discussed. Further investigation on the development of structure and function of the fish auditory system is recommended in order to obtain a deeper understanding of how ontogenetic morphological changes in the auditory pathway relate to modifications in acoustic reception, auditory processing, and the capacity to communicate acoustically.

Last update from database: 10/6/22, 3:25 AM (UTC)