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Acoustical Behavior of the Menpachi, Myripristis berndti, in Hawaii

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Title: Acoustical Behavior of the Menpachi, Myripristis berndti, in Hawaii
Authors: Salmon, Michael
Issue Date: Jul 1967
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Salmon M. 1967. Acoustical behavior of the menpachi, Myripristis berndti, in Hawaii. Pac Sci 21(3): 364-381.
Abstract: The menpachi (Myripristis berndti) is found in aggregations inside
caves and under ledges during the day in water more than 3 m deep. Diel tape
recordings in these areas showed that the fish produced four types of sounds
(knocks, growls, grunts, and staccatos), with no crepuscular peaks, from dawn to
dusk. At night, when the fish scattered to feed, few sounds were detected.
A fifth sound was produced when fish were hand-held. The sound-producing
mechanism was determined by a series of ablation experiments on hand-held fish.
It consisted of a pair of bilateral muscles attached to the skull anteriorly and the
air bladder, the first two dorsal ribs, and the cleithrum bone posteriorly.
Populations of 6-7 fish were maintained in the laboratory in large tanks with an
artificial cave. They remained inside the cave during the day but swam actively
throughout the tank at night. Brief chasing of a small fish by a larger, accompanied
by knocking sounds, was frequently observed. Growl sounds were produced during
more intense aggressive interactions between two fish of about the same size. There
was no evidence of territoriality by members of any population.
Few grunt or staccato sounds were produced when various species of nonpredatory
fish were introduced among laboratory populations. Many of these sounds were
elicited when moray eels were introduced.
Sound playbacks to four populations from one of two speakers on either side
of the cave elicited different responses depending on the sound tested. All fish
immediately turned to and moved toward the experimental speaker when grunt or
staccato sounds were played. Some fish briefly turned to the experimental speaker
when knocks were emitted but none moved to the source. There was no detectable
change in behavior when background noise was played back.
Three fish tested in an aktograph showed increases in locomotory activity at
night which corresponded with periods of nocturnal scattering and feeding in field
The acoustical system of the menpachi is compared with that of the longspine
squirrelfish, Holocentrus rufus , an Atlantic species.
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 21, Number 3, 1967

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