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Acoustic signals produced by Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus and black-chinned tilapia Sarotherodon melanotheron during intra- and interspecific pairings

Akian D.D., Yao K., Parmentier E., Joassard L., Clota F., Baroiller J.F., Lozano P., Chatain B., Bégout M.L.. 2020. Zoology, 143 : 10 p..

DOI: 10.1016/j.zool.2020.125831

We characterised, for the first-time, the sound production of black-chinned tilapia Sarotherodon melanotheron and show differences with that of Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus in a hybridization pairing context. Although both species were able to produce drum sounds, they showed different acoustic features. Drum sounds were produced in aggressive (chasing or lateral attack) and non-aggressive (courtship) contexts by O. niloticus but only in aggressive situations (fleeing or avoidance) by S. melanotheron. The second type of sounds produced by O. niloticus were grunts, produced in both aggressive (chasing and after biting) and non-aggressive contexts (nest building). The second type of sound produced by S. melanotheron was a rolling sound, produced only during courtship. Each species was able to produce common sounds (drum) and species-specific sounds (grunts and rolling). This implies that species can communicate without being able to understand each other because the sounds emitted may probably have different significance. Drumming corresponded only to aggressivity in S. melanotheron, whereas this was not true for O. niloticus. 11-ketotestosterone (11-kt) levels were significantly higher in male O. niloticus than male S. melanotheron, but there was no significant correlation between 11-kt or estradiol concentrations and the number of sounds produced in aggressive or non-aggressive behavioural contexts in either species. During interspecies interactions, O. niloticus drum sounds are likely considered to be aggressive by S. melanotheron and could potentially constitute a reproductive barrier between the two species.

Mots-clés : communication animale; comportement animal; hybridation interspécifique; son (acoustique); oreochromis niloticus; sarotherodon melanotheron

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