Influence of boat noises on escape behaviour of white-spotted eagle ray Aetobatus ocellatus at Moorea Island (French Polynesia)

Abstract : The present study tested different sounds that could disturb eagle rays (Aetobatus ocellatus) during their foraging activities at Moorea, French Polynesia. Results showed that artificial white sound and single-frequency tones (40 Hz, 600 Hz or 1 kHz) did not have an effect on rays (at least 90% of rays continued to forage over sand), while playbacks of boat motor sound significantly disturbed rays during foraging activity (60% exhibited an escape behaviour). Overall, our study highlighted the negative effect of boat noises on the foraging activity of eagle rays. These noises produced by boat traffic could, however, have some positive effects for marine aquaculture if they could be used as a deterrent to repel the eagle rays, main predators of the pearl oysters.
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Cecile Berthe, David Lecchini. Influence of boat noises on escape behaviour of white-spotted eagle ray Aetobatus ocellatus at Moorea Island (French Polynesia) . Comptes Rendus Biologies, Elsevier Masson, 2016, 339 (2), p. 99-103. ⟨10.1016/j.crvi.2016.01.001⟩. ⟨hal-01297683⟩

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