Sunday Sketch: Thought Bubbles

Pacific and Atlantic herring (Clupea pallasii and Clupea harengus) are a large part of the commercial fishing industry and are thus well studied by scientists. However, nighttime sounds coming from the herring left scientists stumped, until video analysis revealed the herrings’ elusive communication style. Described aptly as Fast Repetitive Tick (or FRT), herring use digestive gas from their swim bladder to emit burts of pulsing sounds from their anal duct. Scientists hypothesize that since these FRT sounds happen most often when the herring are in groups, it is used as a form of social communication. This is all a formal, scientific way of saying that fish fart to communicate with other fish!

Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau

Source: Wilson, B., Batty, R. S., & Dill, L. M. (2004). Pacific and Atlantic herring produce sound burst pulse sounds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B(Suppl.), 271, S95–S97. DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2003.0107. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s