PHOTOS: Noisy Fish Reveal Evolution of Vocalizing

PHOTOS: Noisy Fish Reveal Evolution of Vocalizing
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Toadfish are close relatives of midshipman fish, and males like the Gulf toadfish seen above also hum, grunt, and growl to cajole females to their nests or repel competitive males.

Toadfish make their mating calls by manipulating their air-filled swim bladders using specialized vocal muscles. The rate of the muscles' contractions determines the pitch and duration of the calls.

A study published in July 2008 by Cornell University researchers reveals these muscles are controlled by a network of rhythmically firing brain cells very similar to ones found in birds, primates, and other vocalizing land animals.

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—Photograph courtesy Margaret A. Marchaterre/Cornell University
 
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