Hearing loss detected in Clown Fish
Clownfish, the spectacular tropical species feted in the movie Finding Nemo, appear to lose their hearing in water slightly more acidic than normal.
At levels of acidity that may be common by the end of the century, the fish did not respond to the sounds of predators.
The oceans are becoming more acidic because they absorb much of the CO2 that humanity puts into the atmosphere…
Scientists write in the journal Biology Letters that failing to move away from danger would hurt the fish’s survival.
“Avoiding coral reefs during the day is very typical behaviour of fish in open water,” said research leader Steve Simpson from the School of Biological Sciences at the UK’s Bristol University.
“They do this by monitoring the sounds of animals on the reef, most of which are predators to something just a centimetre in length.
“But sounds are also important for mate detection, pack hunting, foraging – so if any or all of those capacities are gone, you’d have a very lost fish,” he told BBC News.
Previous research has shown that fish also lose their capacity to scent danger in slightly more acidic seawater.