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I thought I should offer a comment on the following exchange:
>From: Bill Flowers <bloomin at indy_net>
>To: nfc at actwin_com <nfc at actwin_com>
>Date: Sunday, September 20, 1998 11:35 AM
>Subject: Re: Question
>>Allan Faust wrote:
>>> Has anyone ever heard of a native fish that looks like a bass (actually
>>> of the "french" name is bass) that has 2 stones in its head? I'm looking
>>> the english name of it. The stones consist of 2 pieces of a "corallike"
>>> substance, which allows it to stay on the bottom of a river or lake.
>> There is also a fish called a drum that has 2 stones i its head that
>>make a loud drumming sound with. They taste great, the fish that is.
>> A Fish Addict,
>Thanks for the response..... When I saw the report on the fish, it seemed
>It is a freshwater drum..... I found more info on the net.
All bony fish have stones called otoliths in their heads. There are not two
stones but six: on each side of the head the inner ear contains a sagitta,
an asteriscus, and a lapillus. The sagitta are the largest and are the ones
people usually notice when then first dissect a fish head. Drum do have
rather large otoliths, but they are not at all unique in this aspect. The
otoliths are primarily organs of balance and as such I guess you could say
that they help the fish stay on the bottom by helping it maintain its
balance, but they aren't used to weight the fish down like a diver's weight
Otolith material is deposited at regular intervals in most fish, and the
resulting banding pattern is often used to estimate yearly or even daily
ages of individual fish.
Regarding drumming by drum--yes, they make a lot of noise, but they don't
use their otoliths for this purpose. Muscles associated with the air bladder
make the drumming noise.