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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 10:27 GMT
Shy sharks serenaded by Barry White
National Sealife Centre curator Josie Sutherland
Curator Josie Sutherland tests out the music on a shark
Music by soul singer Barry White is being used in a unique experiment to encourage shy sharks to mate.

White's love songs and other romantic tunes will be pumped into tanks containing varieties of sharks, including tope, dogfish and starry smooth hounds, at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham on Tuesday.

The move follows research by American scientists, at the Rowland Institute for Science in Massachusetts, which revealed that fish can appreciate and identify different types of music.

Although centre bosses said they had no mating problems so far with dogfish, the tope appear reluctant to reproduce and may need help.

With Valentines Day just around the corner, the centre said it is the perfect time to put the theory to the test.

They hope the singer's repertoire, which includes hits such as Can't Get Enough of Your Love Babe and You're the First, My Last, My Everything, will get the fish in the mood.

Courtship ritual

Josie Sutherland, a curator at the centre, said: "We'll be playing lots of different types of music from soppy Barry White love songs to modern pop classics and note the reaction of the sharks to each song.

"We'll know soon if it does the trick because in the early stages of shark courtship, the male chases the female at high speed and attempts to bite her back and pectoral fin."

She added the sharks are not the first exhibits at the centre to enjoy a musical interlude.

Ginger, the "Rock Lobster", reacts to music played to it on a radio by picking up the vibrations and wiggling its antennae.

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

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