Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America




5 (Pt. 1)

First Page


Last Page


DOI of Original Publication



The following article appeared in J. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 111, 2302 (2002) and may be found at

Date of Submission

May 2015


Nesting male gulf toadfish Opsanus beta produce a boatwhistle advertisement call used in male–male competition and to attract females and an agonistic grunt call. The grunt is a short-duration pulsatile call, and the boatwhistle is a complex call typically consisting of zero to three introductory grunts, a long tonal boop note, and zero to three shorter boops. The beginning of the boop note is also gruntlike. Anomalous boatwhistles contain a short-duration grunt embedded in the tonal portion of the boop or between an introductory grunt and the boop. Embedded grunts have sound-pressure levels and frequency spectra that correspond with those of recognized neighbors, suggesting that one fish is grunting during another’s call, a phenomenon here termed acoustic tagging. Snaps of nearby pistol shrimp may also be tagged, and chains of tags involving more than two fish occur. The stimulus to tag is a relatively intense sound with a rapid rise time, and tags are generally produced within 100 ms of a trigger stimulus. Time between the trigger and the tag decreases with increased trigger amplitude. Tagging is distinct from increased calling in response to natural calls or stimulatory playbacks since calls rarely overlap other calls or playbacks. Tagging is not generally reciprocal between fish, suggesting parallels to dominance displays.


Copyright (2002) Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in J. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 111, 2302 (2002) and may be found at

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VCU Biology Publications