5 Ways Sharks Communicate and What Each Means

Sharks don’t speak when they interact. Rather, they communicate with one another through swimming patterns and body language. “Go away” is indicated by an arched back, while “I’m going to steal your food” is indicated by a tail slap.

They have many postures that work well together. As part of an aggressive show, a shark might, for instance, drop its pectoral fins, arch its back, and swim in a unique way. These three displays are frequently used by sharks to get an object following them to back off.

Ready to talk like a shark? Come along as we investigate the amazing ways that sharks communicate!

Important Points

  • Gaping is a useful tool for sharks to frighten and irritate people.
  • Tail slaps are used to indicate dominance when it comes to food.
  • A custom of courtship is fin biting.
  • Pectoral fin drops help sharks manoeuvre and accelerate by signalling a threat.
  • Sharks display their demand for space by arching their backs.
  • A hostile exhibition is frequently followed by a defensive attack.
  • Agnostic display is characterised by hunching over and making abrupt movements.
  • When divers pursue them, grey reef sharks respond with an agonistic display.

1. Gaping

Gaping is one of the ways sharks interact with one another. Sharks can gape to intimidate or just to get irritated with one another. This is where they come out of the water and part their jaws, giving the impression that they are yawning.

Although great whites are well known for gaping, other sharks can also speak in this manner. Gape is a habit shared by several animals, such as the Caribbean reef shark.

Opening their jaw is not the only action involved in gaping. The shark may occasionally swim gently across the surface and roll on their side. The jaw doesn’t usually remain open the whole time. Australian white sharks have a habit of opening and closing their lips to partially gape while swimming.

2. Tail Slaps

Sharks can also express themselves to one another by smacking their tails. Sharks frequently engage in this behaviour when battling for food or protecting a meal. Sayings like “Back away, this food is mine” or “I’m coming to take your food!” can be conveyed with a tail slap.

The other shark may learn how strong its opponent is via the slap. The shark’s strength determines the intensity in its entirety. Sharks and whales both use surface sound for communication, as demonstrated by this behaviour.

3. Fin Biting

Sharks do not bite one another to show hostility. Rather, this seeming odd conduct is a component of a courtship custom. Shark males bite to get the attention of females. Although the bite marks are not as severe as those from feeding bites, females of different shark species frequently have scars from these encounters. Certain species, like female tigersharks, have evolved by growing thicker skin than males.4. Drops of Pectoral Fins

When they perceive a threat, sharks will occasionally shed their pectoral fins. They typically swim in loops, arching their backs when they lower their fins. Sharks use this as a technique to communicate with humans through body language: “Go away.”

Along with communicating irritation, the pectoral fins also help sharks:

  • Steer
  • Speed up
  • Brake

The pectoral fins of a shark are useful for a variety of functions! They enable them to carry objects and quickly alter their direction and speed, to start with. They also act as a lift for sharks.

5. Back Arching or Hunched Back

Sharks display their “get away from me” expression by arching or hunching their backs. Put otherwise, a shark requires room to arches its back. Everything can be well if the creature chasing the shark retreats. But if the pursuer keeps going, the shark will probably attack.

For example, when a diver approaches a shark’s territory, attacks are more likely to occur. These assaults are defensive from the shark’s point of view. The sharks are merely using their teeth to drive the diver away; they are not attempting to consume the human.

Yes, sharks do not only attack to eat; they also attack to defend themselves. Additionally, they frequently issue multiple cautions before acting.

Sharks frequently use a unique swimming pattern known as an agonistic display prior to such defensive attacks. This is a performance when the shark points its nose upward, shakes its head, and swims with a funny back hunch.

When a diver is pursuing them, grey reef sharks are well recognised for displaying their agonistic behaviour. They will slump their stance and move quickly and sharply. The shark also swims in a wider, wavy pattern with greater exaggeration.