Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Michael E. Smith (Director), Dr. Sigrid H. Jacobshagen, Dr. Philip W. Lienesch

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Many families of catfish produce sounds via pectoral spine stridulation and/or swim bladder compression using sonic muscles attached to the swim bladder. The sound production capabilities and characteristics in Loricariidae, the largest catfish family, have not been well examined. Sounds produced by two loricariid catfish species, Macrotocinclus affinis and Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps were recorded. Both species produce broad band calls via pectoral spine stridulation. These species produce sounds by rubbing the ridges of the dorsal process of the pectoral spine base against the groove of the pectoral girdle. Call duration was generally shorter in M. affinis (2-15 ms) as opposed to those produced by P. gibbiceps (20-200 ms). Mean dominant frequencies were approximately 4000 Hz for M. affinis and 1000 (abduction) and 4500 Hz (adduction) for P. gibbiceps. Light and scanning electron microscopy were used to examine the dorsal process of the pectoral spines from the largest and smallest M. affinis, and from a wide range of sizes from P. gibbiceps. Mean distances between dorsal process ridges of M. affinis and P. gibbicepswere approximately 50 and 160 microns, respectively. For P. gibbiceps, dominant frequency was an inverse function of total length and inter-ridge distance.


Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Biology | Structural Biology