The male sand gobies calls and spawns inside cavities beneath stones, shells and other submerged objects (including artificial shelters) which he covers by piling sand on them. A previous study showed fish shelters likely act as impedancematching devices enhancing sound frequencies below 500 Hz. This study examines the effect of the sand pile on sound amplification by shelters commonly used by Mediterranean sand gobies as nest sites in the field (bivalve shells, pebbles), or within aquarium tanks (tunnel-shaped plastic tiles, halves of clay flowerpots). Shelters were acoustically stimulated with white noise and artificial pulse-trains emitted by a small underwater buzzer placed inside the cavity. Results showed the sand pile increased the low-frequency gain by up to 12 dB. Conclusions were verified by examining the role of natural sand builds in sound amplification using data from a previous laboratory study on sound production in the male sand goby P. minutus. Implications for acoustic communication in sand gobies are discussed
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