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October 17 2012

What Singing Fish Reveal about Speech and Hearing


With the exception of the cast of Disney’s The Little Mermaid—and Big Mouth Billy Bass—fish do not spring to mind as the animal kingdom’s most vocally gifted members. But one unusual singing fish has been teaching biologists and neuroscientists a lot about speech and hearing. Its bulging eyes and blubbery lips have graced several research posters at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, which is in New Orleans, Louisiana this year.

The finned crooner in question is the plainfin midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus), which belongs to a family of fish known as toadfish because of their squat, slimy appearance.

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