Fish are a diverse group of vertebrates. While they can be found in every single body of water, they are pets to many aquarium owners.
Many a times you might have noticed that tapping the aquarium glass makes the fish go hide.
Ever wondered why? Watched a TV program on underwater fish and wondered if fish can hear? Do fish have ears? how can fish hear?
Well! this article will tell you lot of things about audiometric capacity in fish and incidental matters.
Do Fish Have Ears?
You may have grown up with the idea that fish do not have ears, but this isn’t actually true.
Fish don’t have external ear structures like humans do. This is not visible from outside and hence we presume fish do not have ears.
In humans and many other primates, the ear is externally visible. But fish do have ears which help them to detect sound waves.
And yes, that means that they can hear you when you’re trying to sneak up on them!
Where Are The Ears Located?
The ears of a fish are located on either side of its head, with each ear tucked away behind an eyeball. The actual organ itself is small and is covered by a thin membrane that protects it from damage.
The primary function of these organs is to detect vibrations in the water, which allows the fish to hear sounds made by other animals or humans who may be swimming nearby.
How Can Fish Hear?
As is the case with all vertebrates, fish hear through their ears. Fish have an inner structure called otoliths that respond to sound waves.
Otoliths are tiny crystals that are located inside of the fish’s ear and are used to detect movement and changes in pressure.
Otoliths are made up of calcium carbonate (which you may know better as limestone or chalk) and respond to sound waves by moving back and forth.
Sound transmission through water is four times greater than through air, so this movement creates an acoustic wave that travels from the otolith all the way to the brain.
The Lateral Line
Bony fish have lateral line, which is a series of sensors organs that runs across the side of their body.
These sensory organs are called neuromasts and they sense vibrations and water pressure.
Bony fish, or teleosts, sense vibrations that are carried through water by using their lateral line, which runs along the side of their body.
Sensory organs called neuromasts detect vibrations and water pressure via this lateral line.
Teleosts also have muscles called swim bladders that help them maintain buoyancy in the water.
These muscles are sensitive to sound waves, so they can be used as a hearing organ in some species of fish.
Lateral lines are found in most fish, but not all. Some species of fish have no lateral lines at all (like sharks) or only one (such as sturgeons).
Fish with a lateral line are known as teleosts, and they are more common than other types of fish.
How Well Can Fish Hear?
The fish can hear sounds in the frequency range of 800-1000 Hz. This means they can hear sounds in the upper part of the human range.
This means they are able to discriminate between sounds of different amplitude and frequency, as well as different types of sounds.
They also have the ability to discriminate between sounds in this range, which is helpful when they need to hear danger approaching or other sounds that could help them survive.
Fish are able to hear low frequencies, which is surprising because fish lack the outer ear that humans and other terrestrial animals have.
The lateral line system helps them to detect changes in water pressure caused by nearby objects.
For What Do Fish Use Hearing For?
Fish use hearing for several purposes. Fish can use hearing to attract mates and detect predators.
They use their lateral line system as well, which is a series of pores along the side of the fish with sensory hairs inside that detect changes in water pressure.
The swim bladder, an organ that helps fish stay buoyant, is used as an auditory receptor.
It amplifies the vibrations from these sound waves and sends them to the brain so that it can interpret them.
This ability allows fish to sense their environment and react accordingly.
Fish also use their sense of hearing to alert them to danger or potential prey.
They are able to hear both underwater sounds and surface noises, like boats or other animals swimming overhead.
Do Fish Make Sounds?
Yes! Though they are not as vocal as mammals, fish do make noises and communicate with each other through sound.
Fish use sound to communicate with other fish, attract a mate, or scare away predators.
There are three types of sounds made by fish: production (by creating vibrations in the tissues of their bodies), transmission (through air or water), and reception (using sensory organs like ears).
Fish make a wide variety of sounds. They can use sounds to communicate with each other, find food and mates, hide from predators and avoid obstacles in the water.
Fish have a number of ways to make sounds. The most common way is for them to push air through their swim bladders (air-filled sacs that provide buoyancy).
This causes vibrations in the surrounding water that can travel long distances underwater.
In addition to using their swim bladders as sound-producing organs, some fish produce clicking noises by sucking water into their mouths and spitting it out again rapidly.
This creates very small bubbles that pop when they reach the surface, making a distinct clicking noise that can be heard by other fish up to 100 yards away!
Other types of sounds are produced by scraping parts of the body against each other or against hard surfaces like coral reefs or rocks.
This is called stridulation and is often used as a warning sign by aggressive males during mating season when they want to scare away other males who might try stealing their mates.”
What Is A Hydrophone?
A hydrophone is a device that detects sound under water. They can be used to study underwater soundscapes and for the detection of whales and other marine mammals.
Hydrophones can be very specific to their use, but they all serve one purpose: to detect underwater noises from animals or things moving through or living in water.
Watch this interesting video about fish, their hearing and hydrophones.
Fish are able to hear sound through a variety of methods.
They can hear anything from the splash of other fish in the water around them to the vibrations caused by prey being caught in their gill nets.
Although hearing of fish is in low frequency, they still do hear. So next time you think of tapping the aquarium glass, think twice!