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Hold the Hydrophone: Acoustic Communication in Sunfish

While acoustic communication has been widely studied in many animals, this is not the case with freshwater fish. Here we report on acoustic signatures and calling patterns of two freshwater fish species, bluegill (Lepomis machrochirus) and redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus). What little work has been done on these species has only reported on calling during the breeding season. Here we report on nonbreeding calls and calling patterns. The diurnal call patterns for the bluegill and redear were recorded within isolated-species-ponds of The Cheraw Fish Hatchery in Cheraw, SC. Field recordings were done for one week in September, 2016 and one week in October, 2016. Hydrophones recorded 30 minutes of every hour for 7 days. Calls are typically short; low frequency “grunts” under 1 KHz, in bursts of single, double, triple or multiple amplitudes. Preliminary analysis indicates peak calling between noon and dusk, with a smaller peak in activity at dawn each day. Bluegill were also recorded in the lab, preliminary results indicating a pattern similar to field recordings.

Jeff Steinmetz (Primary Presenter/Author), Francis Marion University,;

Michelle Gallo ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Francis Marion University,;