The time course and frequency content of hydrodynamic events caused by moving fish, frogs, and crustaceans

J Comp Physiol A. 1991 Jun;168(6):749-57. doi: 10.1007/BF00224363.


In the present study the time course and spectral-amplitude distribution of hydrodynamic flow fields caused by moving fish, frogs, and crustaceans were investigated with the aid of laser-Doppler-anemometry. In the vicinity of a hovering fish sinusoidal water movements can be recorded whose velocity spectra peak below 10 Hz. Single strokes during startle responses or during steady swimming of fish, frogs, and crustaceans cause short-lasting, low-frequency (less than 10 Hz), transient water movements. Low-frequency transients also occur if a frog approaches and passes a velocity-sensitive hydrodynamic sensor. In contrast, transient water movements caused by a rapidly struggling or startled fish or water motions measured in the wake of a slowly swimming (less than or equal to 47 cm/s) trout can be broadbanded, i.e., these water movements can contain frequency components up to at least 100 Hz. High-frequency hydrodynamic events can also be measured behind obstacles submerged in running water. The possible biological advantage of the ability to detect high-frequency hydroynamic events is discussed with respect to the natural occurrence of high frequencies and its potential role in orientation and predator-prey interactions of aquatic animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Crustacea / physiology*
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology
  • Swimming
  • Water Movements*