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Red Bellied Piranha Tank

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Acoustic communication among red-bellied piranhas is exhibited along with aggressive behaviors, such as biting, chasing, conspecific confrontation, and fighting. The sounds created by piranhas are generated through rapid contractions of the sonic muscles and is associated with the swimbladder. The swimbladder may play an important role in sound production as a resonator. All of the observations made on sound production by red-bellied piranha have been when specimens were held by hand. When taken out of the water, the red-bellied piranha will emit a drumming-like sound, consisting of a low-frequency harmonic sound. However, research has shown the presence of three types of acoustic emissions that are associated with specific behaviors. Type one calls are made up of harmonic sounds, last approximately 140 milliseconds at 120 Hz, and are associated with frontal display behavior between two fish. Type two sounds last approximately 36 milliseconds at 40 Hz, and are associated with circling and fighting behavior related to food competition. Type three sounds are made up of a single pulse lasting just 3 milliseconds at 1740 Hz, and are highly associated with chasing behavior toward a conspecific individual. This same sound is also produced when an individual snaps its jaws to bite another individual.

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