Herring Communicate by Flatulence, Study Says

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Herring appear to communicate underwater using flatulence, researchers report in the journal Biology Letters. By squeezing air through anal pores, the fish produce "sounds not unlike people blowing raspberries," said the researchers, who dubbed the noises FRTs for "fast, repetitive tick" sounds.

The British and Canadian researchers suggest the sounds may serve a social purpose, such as keeping schools of fish together or warning of predators. But the noises could also be incidental effects of buoyancy changes in the fish.

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