Acoustic signalling in female fish: factors influencing sound characteristics in croaking gouramis

Friedrich Ladich & Isabelle Pia Maiditsch (2018). Acoustic signalling in female fish: factors influencing sound characteristics in croaking gouramis. Bioacoustics, Volume 27 (4): 377 -390

The characteristics of sounds produced by fishes are influenced by several factors such as size. The current study analyses factors affecting structural properties of acoustic signals produced by female croaking gouramis Trichopsis vittata during agonistic interactions. Female sounds (although seldom analysed separately from male sounds) can equally be used to investigate factors affecting the sound characteristics in fish. Sound structure, dominant frequency and sound pressure levels (SPL) were determined and correlated to body size and the order in which sounds were emitted. Croaking sounds consisted of series of single-pulsed or double-pulsed bursts, each burst produced by one pectoral fin. Main energies were concentrated between 1.3 and 1.5 kHz. The dominant frequency decreased with size, as did the percentage of single-pulsed bursts within croaking sounds. The SPL and the number of bursts within a sound were independent of size but decreased significantly with the order of their production. Thus, acoustic signals produced at the beginning of agonistic interactions were louder and consisted of more bursts than subsequent ones. Our data indicate that body size affects the dominant frequency and structure of sounds. The increase in the percentage of double-pulsed bursts with size may be due to stronger pectoral muscles in larger fish. In contrast, ongoing fights apparently result in muscle fatigue and subsequently in a decline in the number of bursts and SPL. The factor ‘order of sound production’ points to an intra-individual variability of sounds and should be considered in future studies.


Sound production, fish, sound level, dominant frequency, correlation