Grumpy Seahorses Growl When Goaded

Although they usually exude peacefulness and elegance, research recently published in the Journal of Zoology has revealed that Seahorses possess a distinctly more assertive side to their character, and can even emit a deep and angry ‘growl’ in certain situations.

Examining the acoustic behaviour of Hippocampus reidi (Long-snouted seahorses), the researchers used a specially sound-proofed aquarium, equipped with a hydrophone and video camera, to document the clicking sounds that the seahorses make during reproductive behaviour and when feeding. They were also surprised to discover however, the previously un-described growling noises which were made when the seahorses were under stress, such as when they were being handled. Interestingly, the relatively low frequency growl was also accompanied by a vibration of the seahorse’s body and it is thought that the reaction may be an escape mechanism produced to startle predators.

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