Do herring fart?

Gassy fish

You know you can fart. And you probably know that your dog or cat can too, but have you ever wondered if other animals can? For example a herring? Well, yes they can.

There are over 200 species of herring – fish species in the genus Clupea – worldwide, a couple of which have taken the art of farting to new depths. The Pacific and Atlantic herrings have both been found to gulp air from the surface of the water and store it in their swim bladders, later expelling it from their anal ducts in what is technically known as a Fast Repetitive Tick (FRT).

FRTs produce a high-pitched raspberry sound lasting between 0.6 and 7.6 seconds, at frequencies of between 1.7 and 22 kHz. Herring, which have particularly good hearing compared to other fish species, produce FRTs more frequently when densities of herring are higher, and it is thought that they use FRTs to communicate with other members of their fish species. In this way, FRTs are used to find and stay close to other herring, especially at night when they can’t see each other; so these particularly gassy fish use farts to form shoals and stay safe from predators. 

You might think that these raspberry sounds would give away a herring’s location to hungry predators looking for a bite to eat, but, due to the high frequencies of the FRTs, they are above the auditory range of most predatory fishes – a secret fart-code only other herring can hear. 

Keep this in mind Gyrini. So, when “the Gieter” opens again you have the perfect opening line to catch your new prey.


The Onderwijscie

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