Sound signatures and production mechanisms of three species of pipefishes (Family: Syngnathidae)

Lim, Adam Chee Ooi and Chong, Ving Ching and Wong, Chiow San and Muniandy, Sithi Vinayakam (2015) Sound signatures and production mechanisms of three species of pipefishes (Family: Syngnathidae). PeerJ, 3. e1471. ISSN 2167-8359, DOI

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Background. Syngnathid fishes produce three kinds of sounds, named click, growl and purr. These sounds are generated by different mechanisms to give a consistent signal pattern or signature which is believed to play a role in intraspecific and interspecific communication. Commonly known sounds are produced when the fish feeds (click, purr) or is under duress (growl). While there are more acoustic studies on seahorses, pipefishes have not received much attention. Here we document the differences in feeding click signals between three species of pipefishes and relate them to cranial morphology and kinesis, or the sound-producing mechanism. Methods. The feeding clicks of two species of freshwater pipefishes, Doryichthys martensii and Doryichthys deokhathoides and one species of estuarine pipefish, Syngnathoides biaculeatus, were recorded by a hydrophone in acoustic dampened tanks. The acoustic signals were analysed using time-scale distribution (or scalogram) based on wavelet transform. A detailed time-varying analysis of the spectral contents of the localized acoustic signal was obtained by jointly interpreting the oscillogram, scalogram and power spectrum. The heads of both Doryichthys species were prepared for microtomographical scans which were analysed using a 3D imaging software. Additionally, the cranial bones of all three species were examined using a clearing and double-staining method for histological studies. Results. The sound characteristics of the feeding click of the pipefish is species-specific, appearing to be dependent on three bones: the supraoccipital, 1st postcranial plate and 2nd postcranial plate. The sounds are generated when the head of the Dorichthyes pipefishes flexes backward during the feeding strike, as the supraoccipital slides backwards, striking and pushing the 1st postcranial plate against (and striking) the 2nd postcranial plate. In the Syngnathoides pipefish, in the absence of the 1st postcranial plate, the supraoccipital rubs against the 2nd postcranial plate twice as it is pulled backward and released on the return. Cranial morphology and kinesis produce acoustic signals consistent with the bone strikes that produce sharp energy spikes (discrete or merged), or stridulations between bones that produce repeated or multimodal sinusoidal waveforms. Discussion. The variable structure of the sound-producing mechanism explains the unique acoustic signatures of the three species of pipefish. The differences in cranial bone morphology, cranial kinesis and acoustic signatures among pipefishes (and seahorses) could be attributed to independent evolution within the Syngnathidae, which warrants further investigation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fish bioacoustics; Feeding click; Cranial kinesis; Stridulation; Wavelet analysis; Scalogram
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Depositing User: Mrs. Siti Mawarni Salim
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2016 01:43
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2019 07:53

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