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A male Danionella cerebrum fish

Ralf Britz/Senckenberg Dresden

One of many world’s smallest fish, measuring simply 12 millimetres lengthy, could make a sound registering greater than 140 decibels – about as loud as firecrackers being set off.

Danionella cerebrum is a tiny species of fish that’s native to small streams alongside the Bago Yoma mountain vary in Myanmar. It has the smallest known brain of any vertebrate on the planet.

“We examine this fish primarily for neuroscience, as a result of they’re so small and clear,” says Verity Cook at Charité – Berlin College Medication in Germany. However the fish are so loud that, even when simply strolling previous their tanks, you possibly can hear audible pulsing sounds, she says.


To analyze how the tiny fish make these sounds, Cook dinner and her colleagues gathered teams of three or 4 fish right into a small tank and took high-speed movies of them.

When the fish produce sound, the rib that sits adjoining to their swim bladder – the organ that helps to manage their buoyancy – will get pulled by a specialised muscle into a chunk of cartilage with a small indentation.

“There’s stress constructed up on this contraction,” says Cook dinner. “When that could be very quickly launched, [the rib] strikes the swim bladder, which produces the drumming sound.”

Based mostly on evaluation of gene expression, these specialised muscle mass are extra resilient to fatigue in contrast with different muscle mass within the fish, which permits them to supply plenty of hits in fast succession.

The explanation why these fish make such a loud noise is unclear. D. cerebrum usually dwell in murky, turbid waters, so they may have developed this behaviour to assist find one another when visibility is poor, says Cook dinner.

“However the truth that it’s solely males that make sound means that it’s to do with aggressive behaviour in direction of different males or mating behaviour with females,” she says.

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