Sounds from Stingrays Recorded for the First Time

A recent study has reversed the commonly held belief that stingrays are silent. For the first time, the creatures’ sounds were captured in a video depicting two mangrove whiprays and a cowtail stingray making clicking noises. Prior to the study, the only evidence that they are vocal came from research published in 1970 that saw a cownose ray making noise, but only after it was forcefully prodded. The new evidence confirms that the rays indeed speak, however it’s still unclear how as they do not have vocal cords. The newly captured videos show that the rays’ spircales (two holes on their heads that move water across their gills) appear to contract in accordance with the clicking sounds, suggesting they may be creating friction to speak. “This just shows how we don’t know everything,” says Lachlan Fetterplace, an ecologist who led the study. “We’re in the year 2022, and you can discover something no one has ever seen just by going out and doing observations.” Learn more about the revelation at National Geographic.

Image by Johnny Gaskell, courtesy of National Geographic