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Why Does the Midshipman Fish Sing at Night?

midshipman

Midshipman fish are well known to houseboat owners.

Many report hearing the fish “sing”: in fact, they are also known as “humming toadfish.” But the fish only sing at night, and scientists haven’t been able to figure out why—until now.

First off, yes, the answer to “why” the midshipman fish sing at all has to do with… sex. The male sings to attract a mate.

However, scientists have wondered for some time why it happens only at night. It seems that melatonin, a hormone released when it gets dark, is the trigger that causes the males to start singing.

In contrast, it seems females of the species only grunt!

midshipman

So, what do the fish do during the day? Bury themselves in the mud.

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Why Does the Midshipman Fish Sing at Night?