Sound-producing mechanisms and recordings in Carapini species (Teleostei, Pisces)

J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2003 Apr;189(4):283-92. doi: 10.1007/s00359-003-0401-7. Epub 2003 Mar 15.


Carapus boraborensis, C. homei and Encheliophis gracilis are three species of Carapidae that display the ability to penetrate and reside in the holothurian Bohadschia argus. This study describes both the particular morphology of the sound-producing structures and, for the first time, the sounds produced by each species. The study of the structures composing the sound-producing system seems to indicate that the action made by the primary sonic muscles (i.e. the pulling and releasing of the front of the swim bladder) might be responsible for the sound emissions of these three species by provoking a vibration of a thinner zone in front of the swim bladder (swimbladder fenestra). The sounds were only emitted and recorded when several individuals of the same species were inside the same sea cucumber. They were composed of serially repeated knocks and were heard as drum beats or drum rolls. Their specific differences were mainly defined as variations in the timing or grouping of the knocking sounds. The recordings of these sound productions demonstrate a vocal ability for the three species, linked with the presence of particular organs associated with sound production. Moreover, the ecological significance of the sounds and of the sound apparatus system is discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Sacs / anatomy & histology*
  • Air Sacs / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Environment
  • Fishes / anatomy & histology
  • Fishes / classification
  • Fishes / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Sound Spectrography / methods
  • Species Specificity
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology*