Fish Communication

Fish have long been known to communicate by several silent mechanisms, but more recently researchers have found evidence that some species also use sound. Actually, you will be surprised in how many ways fish communicate!

Fish Communication by Sound

Most of the fish communicate with sounds. Many studies have recorded mainly 3 types of vocalizations: the croak, the purr and some popping sounds. These sounds are mainly used during breeding, fighting and spawning. At night time, since they don’t have the visual cues, the noises are completely different from the ones at day time.
Most of those sounds are not audible by humans due to their much higher frequency and can only be picked up by underwater microphones.



Fish Communication by Motion

It is well known that fish communicate within groups by body language, such as synchronized swimming in schools or by changing the shape of their body as a defense mechanism against predators.

Fish Communication by Coloration

Colour in fish is the most developed form of communication, some of which we can interpret, but much of which remains mysterious. By brightening or darkening their hues, or even glow in the ultea violet, they can display aggression or fear, identify mates, advertise status, hide from danger and probably many other things we can only guess.
In such ways, the coloration appears to communicate information and disinformation! Either it helps them to find mates or advertise their status on the group or it intends to mislead predators. The real masters of this art are the octopus and cuttle fish, who are able to adjust their colour and even manage to mimic texture on their skin to blend into any surroundings underwater so they remain inrecognisable.

Fish Communication by Smell and Taste

Little is known about how fish communicate through the sense of taste and smell. It has been proven that smell and taste are mainly used during spawning times and they indicate signs of fighting for many fish species. For example, some species of cichlid uses urine to send chemical signals during aggressive displays or that some fish nudge their partner’s mouths towards their genial areas.

Fish Communication by Electrical Impulse

Fish with electrical organs can transmit electrical impulses for either social reason, to warn trespassers that they are getting too close to their territory or even to infer the sex of a conspecific, as the elephant nose fish do.

Fish Communication by bioluminescence

Mainly among deep sea fish, animals generate visible light from their organs through a chemical reaction. This is a sensible way in their dark environment to communicate certain types of information, such as species recognition, courtship, attack warning or submission.

Have you ever seen/heard any of those communication patterns?