Can sharks vocalize?

Can sharks make any intentional noises? I’m guessing not, since they don’t have lungs.

I don’t care about what kind of shark it is, and a link to a recording (if such a thing exists would be a real bonus.

Here ya go.

I can.

I sound like Elmer Fudd on helium.

Thanks Morbo, but I was hoping for something more like a nature documentary.


Seriously though, I’ve seen a lot of nature documentaries but have never heard mention of a shark making a noise. I’ve just found a list of shark facts on Wiki that says ‘Although sharks can hear sound, they rarely make a noise.’ ‘Rarely’? :dubious:

I think that sharks do not make noises, except incidentally. But I’ll stand to be corrected.

Fish make all kinds of noises

But you’ll notice they are all bony fish, not sharks.

The Devil’s Grandmother suggested that sharks couldn’t make noise because they don’t have lungs, and it’s probably correct. It’s not the actual lung, but the organ that the lung evolved from: the swim bladder. Boney fish, with few exceptions, make noise by using the swim bladder as the resonating chambers. Sharks don’t have swim bladders, so it’s kind of hard to see how they could generate any usable amount of sound. There are some boney fish that make sounds by rubbing their fins or jaws, but they’re rare and I’ve never heard of any sharks that do it.

You mean like this?

“Rarely” might involve intentionally making noise by slapping the water, but possibly not any sort vocalization. I searched around some more last night, and didn’t find anything.
Thanks for the Fish Acoustics link, jayjay, it was very interesting. Thanks also **Johnny **:candygram!: snerk and Blake.

OT: I did some fishing in the beaver ponds of New England as a kid. When extracting the hook from a Bullhead ( ), they would make a throaty grunt at me.

Would this be considered “vocalisation”? (I don’t know if intent to communicate is what defines vocalisation.)

Good point, mlees. I guess I was asking two questions 1) do sharks have voices (like whales or dolphins), and 2) do sharks use sound to communicate (like people or tapping insects or birds)?
I think the answers are no and no.

I think the ability to create sound is separate from the ability to use that sound for communication. Your fish were vocalizing, but not communicating.

The fish were communicating without any shadow of a doubt. Large numbers of fish communicate vocally. You don’t evolve elaborate means of producing sound if you aren’t using it to communicate.

Echolocation? Sonar?

Icthyologist, but I am a big fan of sharks. I find them interesting.

I’ve never heard on documentaries or in anything I’ve read that they make noises or echolocate.

They are very sensitive to pressure and may feel it/hear it on their body. I’ve never read about that topic.

I’ve caught bony fish myself that croaked and made noises out of the water (years ago).

For land vertebrates, “vocalization” generally implies a sound made with the voice, that is, by expelling air through the mouth, rather than mechanical sounds made by other body parts (e.g. beaver tail slapping, gorilla chest thumping, wing whirring by birds). I suppose one could extend that to sounds made by fish using vibrations of the swim bladder, even though no air is expelled.

As has been mentioned, many bony fish make sounds, and some are even named for the sounds they make (grunts, croakers). Since sharks lack swim bladders, any sounds would most likely be limited to mechanical ones.

Those are the same thing (well tehcnically one is a subset of the other).

And you can’t evolve echolocation ex nihilo. You need to be have an elaborate means of producing sound and elaborate means of recieving sound already in place before you can evolve echolocation.

And you don’t evolve elaborate means of producing sound if you aren’t using it to communicate. Even if the only purpose is to convey a threat to a predator, that’s still commnication, albeit intraspecies.

I can’t see any posible reason to develop sophisticated sound producing systems except to communicate your intentions or position ot other organisms.

Blake said:

What about bats?

Why can’t the sound procuding and receiving units evolve in tandem with the echolocation?

But fish can fart, right?

Sharks are scary enough without being able to growl right before they eat you.

Video evidence of shark vocalization