Fish Sounds and Mate Choice

  • M. Clara P. AmorimEmail author
  • Raquel O. Vasconcelos
  • Paulo J. Fonseca
Part of the Animal Signals and Communication book series (ANISIGCOM, volume 4)


Fish acoustic signals associated with mating behaviour are typically low-frequency sounds produced by males when in close proximity to females. However, some species make sounds that serve the function and follow the design of advertisement calls, well known in insects, anurans, and birds. Close-range courtship acoustic signals may be used by females in mate assessment as they contain information of male quality such as size and condition. For example, sound-dominant frequency, amplitude, and fatigue resistance may signal body size whereas pulse period (i.e. muscle contraction rate) and calling activity are related with body condition in some species. Some signal features, such as sound pulse number, may carry multiple messages including size and condition. Playback experiments on mate choice of a restricted number of species suggest that females prefer vocal to silent males and may use sound frequency, amplitude, and mainly calling rate when assessing males. The assessment of males by females becomes more challenging when males engage in choruses or when sounds are otherwise masked by anthropogenic noise but almost nothing is known about how these aspects affect mating decisions and fish reproductive success.


Acoustic communication Calling activity Mate choice Reproductive success Chorus Anthropogenic noise Fish 



The authors are thankful to Manuel Vieira for the fish drawings. Financial support was given by Science and Technology Foundation, Portugal (pluriannual program UI&D 331/94 and UI&D 329, grant SFRH/BPD/41489/2007, project PTDC/MAR/118767/2010) and the Science and Technology Development Fund, Macau SAR, China (grant 019/2012/A1).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Clara P. Amorim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raquel O. Vasconcelos
    • 2
  • Paulo J. Fonseca
    • 3
  1. 1.MARE—Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre and UIEE - Eco-Ethology Research UnitISPA—Instituto UniversitárioLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Institute of Science and EnvironmentUniversity of Saint JosephMacauSAR China
  3. 3.Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Departamento de Biologia AnimalCentro de Biologia AmbientalLisbonPortugal

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