This particular recording is done with two Hydrophone mics, inside a small pond, on top of Sheriffmuir. There is a whole new world of sound going on in there, and you would never know it standing at the side of the pond. The recording is of the Lesser Water Boatman insects communicating to each other through the water, and what a chatter they have! This really opens your eyes to the fact there is so much sound going on around us, and we cant even hear it!
The Lesser Water Boatman is one of a number of water boatmen species in the UK. It is common and widespread in weedy ponds, lakes and ditches. Like the Common Backswimmer, it has long, oar-like legs to help it swim at the surface of the water. It is also herbivorous, eating algae and detritus, unlike the carnivorous Common Backswimmer. Like other aquatic bugs, Lesser Water Boatmen need to breathe at the water’ surface, but they have developed an ingenious trick to allow them to remain under water for longer: they hang upside-down, collecting air from the water’s surface and then carry it around as a bubble on their body. During warm weather the adults may take flight.
The Lesser Water Boatman is dark brown with yellow, close-set stripes. It has powerful oar-like, hairy hind legs, which it uses as paddles as it swims. Its body resembles the shape of a boat, hence it’s common name. The various species of water boatmen are very difficult to tell apart from each other, but can be easily distinguished from backswimmers because they do not swim upside-down.
There are many different species of ‘water boatmen’ in the UK, which fall into the families: Corixidae (lesser water boatmen); and Notonectidae and Pleidae (backswimmers or greater water boatmen). Males of some species stridulate or ‘sing’, making grasshopper-like noises to attract mates; these songs may be heard during the summer, especially at night.
This Category, Hidden Sounds, is one of my favourites! Mainly because they are hidden sounds, you cant hear it with the human ear, unless you use special microphones to listen. I particularly like recording these sounds also, because you have to go out and hunt for them, its trial and error, what you might think will be very interesting with contact mics attached, is sometimes underwhelming, but when you get a good one…it definately fills me with surprise, every time.
Keep an open mind when listening to the hidden sound categories, and understand that this phenomenon is going on all around you, every where you go, you just don’t hear it.