The noisy mating call of an amorous fish is believed to have been keeping people awake in Southampton.
New Forest District Council has received some 30 complaints from residents reporting a “pulsating hum” and some have even visited the doctor, believing they were suffering from tinnitus.
Now fingers are being pointed at the midshipman fish, which can produce a sonorous drone is of such a low frequency and long wavelength that it can carry through the ground, walls and homes. Have a listen to one in full flow here.
Romance: The male midshipman will attempt to out-hum all rivals
The noise is emitted by males hoping to attract a mate, and a nearby estuary in Hythe is thought to have been turned into a hotbed of lusty fish sex.
Linda Zammit told the Daily Echo: “I thought I was going mad.
“I hear it every night unless it’s windy or raining. It doesn’t keep me awake but it stops me getting back to sleep if I do happen to wake up.”
The male midshipman fish sings using the sonic muscles which surround its swim bladder and is able to hum for up to an hour at a time.
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“There are certainly ‘sonic fish’ in the north Atlantic and the approaches of the English Channel.”
The midshipman fish’s sexual prowess is also believed to be behind the Seattle Hum – a buzzing noise which has plagued the west of the city.