Sperm whales produce echolocation clicks, what are the other types of clicks and other sounds they can produce?

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1 Answer 1


Sperm whales produce echolocation clicks, known as usual/ regular clicks (Madsen et al., 2002) and buzzes/ creaks (Gordon, 1987), while they are actively foraging underwater. These are distinguished from other types of clicks based on the repetition rate (known as the inter click interval).

Sperm whales also produce slow clicks (Gordon, 1987), surface/ coda creaks (whitehead, 2003), rapid/ fast clicks, and chirrups. These sounds are thought to be used for communication and/ or to scan conspecifics.

Non click sounds include squeals, pips, short trumpets, and trumpets (Pace et al., 2021).


Gordon, J. C. D. The behaviour and ecology of sperm whales off Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, Darwin College, Cambridge, 1987).

Madsen, P. T. et al. Sperm whale sound production studied with ultrasound time/depth-recording tags. J. Exp. Biol. 205(13), 1899–1906 (2002).

Pace, D.S., Lanfredi, C., Airoldi, S. et al. Trumpet sounds emitted by male sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Sci Rep 11, 5867 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84126-8. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-84126-8

Whitehead, H. Sperm Whale: Social Evolution in the Ocean (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2003).Return to ref 8 in article

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