Subject: Manatee, communication

Nancy Sadusky (
Tue, 17 Sep 1996 10:54:22 +0000

Dear Larry,

You wrote:
> How are the efforts coming to understand what certain species
> of whales are actually saying to one another?  Have we "cracked"
> any parts of their communication codes yet and if so, what has
> been learned?

My answer:

Although I'm featured on WhaleNet, I'm actually the manatee expert!  
I'm going to have to refer you to the whale experts to answer your 
question on whales.  However, I can tell you that manatees emit  sounds 
underwater that are believed to be used for communication purposes.  
Researchers have found that their vocalizations may express fear, 
anger, or sexual arousal.  Manatee sounds are also used to maintain 
contact, especially when they are feeding or traveling in turbid 
waters.  Vocalizations between a cow (female manatee) and her calf 
are expecially common.

Although I couldn't answer your question on whales, I hope you've 
learned a little more about manatee communication.


Nancy Sadusky
Communications Director

Save the Manatee Club
500 N. Maitland Ave. 
Maitland, FL 32751