One of world’s smallest fish makes sound as loud as gunshot, scientists find

Scientists in Germany discovered that a fish, smaller than a grape, is able to make noises as loud as a gunshot. 

Loud clicking noises coming from the fish tank inside a lab at Charité University in Berlin prompted researchers to investigate the cause. After careful observation and testing, they found that the fish were able to drum out a powerful sound using their swim bladder. 

The fish, known as Danionella cerebrum, had a drumming cartilage with specialized ribs and fatigue-resistant muscles which allowed them to "accelerate the drumming cartilage at extreme forces and generate rapid, loud pulses," according to the study published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 


FILE - Still image taken from video demonstrating fish noises.

The fish were able to tap out clicks at 140 decibels and researchers believe it's the loudest fish for its size ever discovered. 

"At a distance of one body length away, around 140 decibels is the amplitude of the sound, that's how loud we believe the sound to be perceived by other fish,"  Verity Cook, the lead author of the study, and a PhD Student at Charité University, told the BBC. 

At about 3 feet away, the fish were still able to reach 108 decibels, which is a little louder than a jet flying overhead at about 1,000 feet in altitude. 

It was also discovered that only the male fish are able to make this noise. 

Researchers believe that due to the fish’s natural habitat in the murky waters of Myanmar, male fish have had to adapt to fine a way to mate in the low-visibility environment, hence the loud, clicking method of communication. 

Storyful contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.