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Love bites: Barry White is mood music for sharks

Marine center officials in England said they hope Barry White's distinctive, sexy vocals will do for sharks what they have done for countless humans.
Marine center officials in England said they hope Barry White's distinctive, sexy vocals will do for sharks what they have done for countless humans.  


BIRMINGHAM, England (CNN) -- Staff at a central England marine center have turned to the "Walrus of Love" to try to get their shy sharks in the mood for mating.

The love ballads of soul legend Barry White -- known as the Walrus of Love by his fans -- are being pumped in to tanks containing dogfish, starry smooth hounds and tope at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.

Marine center officials said they view the music -- which also includes other collections of love songs -- as a last resort.

It is commonly thought that sharks detect sound through their internal radar system, which they interpret as vibrations.

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Researchers in Britain are playing music by Barry White in an effort to get sharks to mate (February 14)

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But new research by U.S. scientists at the Rowland Institute for Science in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has found that fish can appreciate and identify different types of music.

The verdict is still out on whether White -- whose hits include "I'm Just Gonna Love You a Little Bit More Baby" and "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" -- has given the sharks good vibrations.

Karen Hewlett, an aquarist at the center, said: "Nothing has happened yet, but we hope that if anyone can persuade them it will be Barry White.

"We'll know if it does the trick by their behavior because in the early stages of shark courtship, the male chases the female at high speed and attempts to bite her back and dorsal fin, which actually isn't very romantic."

The center, which has several tanks, is targeting a particular one in which none of the fish appears to be mating.

Sharks and fish are able to appreciate and identify types of music, researchers say.
Sharks and fish are able to appreciate and identify types of music, researchers say.  

"The temperature is the same in all the tanks so it's not as if they are uncomfortable," Hewlett said. "At the moment, we are playing the music in the room where the tank is, but we may pipe it underwater.

"When we dive with the fish and the music is playing, it's quite audible."

Curator Josie Sutherland said: "We've already experienced fantastic success with breeding many species at the center, but I'm always open to new ideas."



 
 
 
 


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