When Mad, Seahorses Unleash Surprising Sound
The little guys actually growl
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2014 8:01 AM CDT
A seahorse swims in an aquarium in the zoo of Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012.   (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

(Newser) – What does a seahorse do if you grab it and hold it in place underwater? It growls, of course. It may be a small, low sound, barely audible to the human ear, but scientists in Brazil report in the Journal of Zoology that they used a hydrophone to record audio of seahorses in an aquarium tank as they ate, courted, and were handled by humans, and that the fish definitely growled under duress, reports LiveScience. (Listen to the recordings here.) This is the first time such a sound has been officially detected coming from a seahorse.

“They are cute, monogamous, and calm fish, and people usually love them,” co-author Antonio Souto tells Discovery News. When they are eating, their noises resemble quick clicks, almost like the sound a woodpecker makes against trees. When grabbed and held in place in the tank, though—much like their predators grab and hold them before swallowing them—the seahorses vibrate and growl, possibly as an escape mechanism, the scientists surmise. (Still curious about seahorses? Check out why they're so curvy.)

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
Jul 12, 2014 8:12 PM CDT
I was disappointed they didn't provide a video with the sound of the seahorse growl.
Jul 12, 2014 8:03 PM CDT
To the writer - I read the abstract and it does not say that the seahorses are "mad" when the growl. It says they emit this noise when the are grabbed. I suspect it is fear, not anger, that elicits the growls - fear they will be eaten by a predator if they don't get away. Not sure if you misread the article or included your assumptions as facts.
Jul 12, 2014 6:50 PM CDT
So do I.