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Sound of the ocean: Lionfish roar recorded for the first time

Pterois is the term for a genus of venomous marine fish. These fish are commonly known as lionfish and they are native to the Indo-Pacific. The fish are sometimes called zebrafish or firefish and they are characterized by stark warning coloration composed of red, white, creamy, or black bands. The fish also have showy pectoral fins together with venomous spiky fin rays. The most common species are Pterois radiata, Pterois volitans, and Pterois miles.

Lionfish are invasive to the Atlantic ocean (probably via human means) and they are causing problems with native fish. Lionfish are carnivores that feed on small crustaceans and fish, including the young of important commercial fish species such as snapper and grouper. This makes tracking the routes of lionfish and important conservation activity. Thus the objective of recording the lionfish, according to New Scientist magazine, is to give marine biologists an insight into secret lives of the voracious invasive species, allowing researchers of the aquatic to track the spread of the genus.


Profile of a lionfish showing the distinctive fleshy tentacles above the eyes and below the mouth.
Photo courtesy NOAA / John F. Morrissey

READ MORE: Strange fish delivers heroin-like bite

Associating fish with sound might not seem link an obvious connection, however many fish produce sounds to communicate with each other. These tend to take the form of low-pitched noises, which are optimal for traveling far underwater. Lionfish, in addition, produce an additional noise made up of a much quicker series of beats. So, what does the lionfish sound like? The following video provides the answer:

The new recordings have been made by Professor Alex Bogdanoff of North Carolina State University.

The research into the lionfish has been reported to the Journal of Fish Biology, in a paper headed “The roar of the lionfishes Pterois volitans and Pterois miles.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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