Notoriously silent hunters, sharks are known for stealthily traveling throughout the ocean. Sharks do not have sound-producing organs, so they do not possess the capacity to make noise through vocalization.
There are some reports that certain species of swellsharks, such as the draughtsboard shark, emit noises that sound like a bark when above water. Researchers have concluded that this noise does not come from vocal ability, but instead is a defense mechanism. Underwater, these sharks inflate their bodies with water to scare predators. When pulled above the surface, however, these sharks fill with air and emit a barking noise as that air is released.
While sharks cannot vocalize in the way that other animals can, they have other means of communication. Sharks’ senses of sight, hearing and smell allow them to hunt and be aware of other sharks around them. As mostly solitary animals, many sharks do not need to communicate with others; however, they do use their heightened senses to assist them in finding a mate. They use additional means of communication, such as movement and smell, to aid in that process.
Stay tuned as we answer more questions about our aquatic world!