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Digestive Displays (formerly 'Differences')

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53955.  Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:31 am Reply with quote

Slightly bogus D link, but maybe we could get into this via "He who denied it supplied it" under Denials:

Q: Why are teenaged boys like herrings?

A: They both communicate by farting:

Biologists have linked a mysterious, underwater farting sound to bubbles coming out of a herring's anus. No fish had been known to emit sound from its anus nor to be capable of producing such a high-pitched noise.

"It sounds just like a high-pitched raspberry," says Ben Wilson of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (Listen here, .wav file). Wilson and his colleagues cannot be sure why herring make this sound, but initial research suggests that it might explain the puzzle of how shoals keep together after dark. ...

Fish are known to call out to potential mates with low "grunts and buzzes", produced by wobbling a balloon of air called the swim bladder located in the abdomen. The swim bladder inflates and deflates to adjust the fish's buoyancy.

The biologists initially assumed that the swim bladder was also producing the high-pitched sound they had detected. But then they noticed that a stream of bubbles expelled from the fish's anus corresponded exactly with the timing of the noise. So a more likely cause was air escaping from the swim bladder through the anus.

It was at this point that the team named the noise Fast Repetitive Tick (FRT). But Wilson points that, unlike a human fart, the sounds are probably not caused by digestive gases because the number of sounds does not change when the fish are fed.

The researchers also tested whether the fish were farting from fear, perhaps to sound an alarm. But when they exposed fish to a shark scent, there was again no change in the number of FRTs.

Journal reference: Biology Letters (DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0107)

The .wav link points at, but I can't make it work myself.

Last edited by Flash on Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:42 am; edited 1 time in total

54695.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:55 am Reply with quote


Very amusing.

But this looks to me like 'Similarities' rather than 'Differences'. It's a good question, though.

Digestion, perhaps?

54711.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:20 am Reply with quote

What about just playing the sound and asking what it is.

I would love to see the look on Alan's face when he says "a fart" and gets points aplenty.

54723.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:27 am Reply with quote

Yaay. Great idea!

54730.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:36 am Reply with quote

mutter mutter i did this under b for bubble ages ago and everyone thought it was a rubbish question then mutter mutter going to my room to play the guitar with my blanket over my head mutter mutter

54740.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:43 am Reply with quote

Time have changed, Garrick - got to keep up. Lord Reith is dead & gone.

54778.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:31 am Reply with quote



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