Lengthy regarded as silent, two species of stingrays have now been proven to make unusual clicking noises, which may very well be as a result of they really feel threatened


27 July 2022

Stingrays have been documented making unusual clicking sounds within the wild by scientists.

Lachlan Fetterplace on the Swedish College of Agricultural Sciences and his colleagues have recorded people of two stingray species, the mangrove whipray (Urogymnus granulatus) and the cowtail stingray (Pastinachus ater), making the noises.

Stingrays, that are cartilaginous fish like sharks, are usually thought of to be silent, however there have been a number of anecdotal experiences of them making noises beneath duress in captivity or within the wild.

So Fetterplace and his colleagues got down to examine the phenomenon in oceans off the coast of Indonesia and Australia. The workforce managed to file mangrove whipray and cowtail stingray people making clicking sounds for a minute or two as a diver swam in in direction of them.

“We didn’t suppose that stingrays had the anatomy to make sounds,” says Fetterplace. “It’s form of wonderful as a result of it exhibits that there are such a lot of issues within the ocean we don’t really know.”

Stingrays have lately been proven to make a crunching sound produced by munching on meals however Fetterplace says the noises that his workforce have recorded are unlikely to be associated to consuming. “We didn’t see any proof that they had been chewing meals,” he says. “Additionally, there’s a sample within the sound with a relentless beat going by means of it – which you don’t actually anticipate in chewing sounds.”

It’s unclear why the stingrays make the sounds. “My educated guess can be that they’re doing it as a warning,” says Fetterplace. “It may very well be used to bodily startle one thing like a shark.”

“They may even be speaking to different rays that there’s hazard,” he says.

A broad cowtail stingray (Pastinachus ater)

Cowtail stingrays appear to emit unusual clicking noises

Andy Murch/naturepl.com

“Though there was some anecdotal proof earlier than this paper, it’s the first one to truly current a recorded sound and a few acoustic info,” says Lucille Chapuis on the College of Exeter, UK. “I hope it’ll encourage researchers to concentrate on the acoustic ecology of those animals.”

The phenomenon could not have been extra extensively noticed as a result of stingrays solely make the press sound hardly ever or possibly solely sure species of stingray could make them, says Fetterplace.

He says individuals have already reached out to him to say they’ve heard stingrays make comparable sounds and a few have video footage. He plans to collate and analyse these experiences. “If in case you have an instance of stingrays making sounds – please ship it to us,” he says.

However divers shouldn’t hunt down stingrays to listen to these noises, he says. “Stingrays usually are not aggressive except they’re threatened. But when they’re threatened, they’ve the potential to harm you.”

Journal reference: The Scientific Naturalist, DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3812

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