The Greater Music of the Lesser Water Boatman

Pour yourself a glass of your finest Bordeaux, adorn your silkiest robe, fetch your most affectionate lap cat, and settle in for a treat, dear reader. What you are about to hear is the sumptuous song of the male Micronecta scholtzi, a small aquatic insect also known as the lesser water boatman.

Such skill, power, and grace! But especially power: The water boatman’s echemes can reach almost 100 decibels, as loud as hearing an orchestra play the first movement of Mahler’s 8th symphony from the front row. Yeah–that loud.  In fact, relative to its size it is the loudest animal on earth (Sueur et al. 2011).

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