Understanding animal communication has long been a fascinating and vast area of research for those who dare to welcome the challenge. Some species use body language to express their message while others use calls and loud noises. In fact, some animals communicate in frequencies that are inaudible to humans, either above or below our hearing range.But how do critters on the ocean floor use communication to fend off predators, attract mates and protect their homes? This was the question six scientists, including two students from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, Erica Staaterman and Austin Gallagher set out to answer. Their destination was the muddy water off the coast of Catalina Island, California. Their subject was the California mantis shrimp Hemisquilla californiensis, a benthic crustacean that measures 8 – 10 inches.
The study uncovered the fact that mantis shrimp made noise, each individual seeming to have its own ‘voice.’ The males made rhythmic ‘rumbles’ in groups of three that may help to attract females to their burrows or defend their territories against neighboring males.