Meet The Biggest Loudmouths in the Ocean

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Elephants and howler monkeys are among the noisiest chatterboxes on Earth, but a few aquatic animals are also known for their shrieks, cries and songs. Listen carefully next time you dive, and you’ll likely hear a cacophony of sound. Meet the biggest loudmouths in the ocean.

SNAPPING SHRIMP

Also known as pistol shrimp for using their sound to hunt, snapping shrimp are capable of emitting earsplitting screams. These crustaceans have a unique claw that snaps shut with such speed that it creates a wave of bubbles that can stun larger fish. The bubble wave has extremely low pressure, which means it bursts as soon as it meets water outside it. When it does, it produces a shock wave measured at 200 decibels (the noise made by a jackhammer or lawn mower measures around 100 db). The shrimp’s piercing shot is extremely short: The bubble is formed and collapses in less than a millisecond.

HUMPBACK WHALE

Known for its complex songs, the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is not the loudest whale in the ocean, but it is probably the best known. Humpbacks repeat patterns of low notes that vary in amplitude and frequency in consistent patterns over a period of hours or even days. Only male humpbacks sing, most likely to attract females and to communicate. All the males in an area sing virtually the same song, which constantly and slowly evolves over time.

TOADFISH

Its recognizable call can sound a bit like the signaling horn of a ship, but toadfish make other distinctive sounds too. Their utterances range from mate-attracting nighttime whistles to grunted warnings to other fish to get off their turf. Whatever the reasons for their myriad sounds, scientists think toadfish have a fairly complex piscine vocabulary.

Marine biologists say the fish has evolved an innovative vocal organ with its dual swim bladder that is similar to a human’s larynx and the syrinx of a bird. Scientists are also studying whether different “communities” of toadfish sing at a different pitch than those in an adjacent area of the ocean.

BLACK DRUM

Imagine Ringo Starr playing the drums in your living room every night. For the residents living along the canals and estuaries of Cape Coral, Florida, the crescendo of a black drum’s mating calls can boom that loudly. OK, maybe it’s not quite that deafening.

Pogonias cromis is a member of the Sciaenidae family, which, in addition to drums, includes croakers. During peak spawning season (January through March), a black drum’s mating call can reach 500 hertz — a low frequency and long wavelength — which is why it can travel through water, seawalls and into a house.

Source: spor diver

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