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24/10/2013 07:40 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

'Noisy Fish Sex' Keeps Southampton Awake: Midshipman Blamed For Sleep Loss (AUDIO)

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.

midshipman fish

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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Speaking to The Telegraph, Dr Ben Wilson of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, said of the theory: “It’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

“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.

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