The habitat ambient noise may exert an important selective pressure on frequencies used in acoustic communication by animals. A previous study demonstrated the presence of a match between the low-frequency quiet region of the stream ambient noise (termed 'quiet window') and the main frequencies used for sound production and hearing by two stream gobies (Padogobius bonelli, Gobius nigricans). The present study examines the spectral features of ambient noise in very shallow freshwater, brackish and marine habitats and correlates them to the range of dominant frequencies of sounds used by nine species of Mediterranean gobies reproducing in these environments. Ambient noise spectra of these habitats featured a low-frequency quiet window centered at 100 Hz (stream, sandy/rocky sea shore), or at 200 Hz (spring, brackish lagoon). The analysis of the ambient noise/sound spectrum relationships showed the sound frequencies matched the frequency band of the quiet window in the ambient noise typical of their own habitat. Analogous ambient noise/sound frequency relationships were observed in other shallow-water teleosts living in similar underwater environments. Conclusions may be relevant to the understanding of evolution of fish acoustic communication and hearing.
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