Hypostomus is the most diverse genus within Loricariidae. These catfish species exhibit a very conservative morphology with relatively few external characteristics that differ between different species. In consequence, there is a challenge to understand the distinction of species of this genus. This study aims to describe the sounds produced by ten species of Hypostomus from Araguari River and Paraopeba River (Minas Gerais, Brazil), to examine whether acoustic features could be used to distinguish between the species, and to understand the corresponding sound production mechanisms. The fish were recorded making sounds by holding them in hand underwater, in a glass tank on the river shore next to where they had been caught. All ten species produced sounds, and no effect of body size on acoustic features was observed. Furthermore, the species could not be distinguished using acoustic features. Likewise, all the studied species exhibited similar bony ridges on the dorsal processes of the pectoral spine. Since the sounds produced by the fish do not seem to exhibit interspecific specificity, they do not appear to have a role in behaviours requiring conspecific recognition, such as reproduction. Sound production may have an alarm, distress, or acoustic aposematism function warning predators of the presence of pectoral spines, which have an anti-predatory function in this clade.
- Keywords: bioacoustics; catfish; Loricariidae; pectoral girdle; pectoral spine; Siluriformes; sound production; stridulation