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The water boatman (Micronecta scholtzi), shown at the top left, is only 2mm long but is the loudest animal ever to be recorded, relative to its body size, outperforming all marine and terrestrial species.

Far and away the most ear-splitting animal

The tiny water boatman, Micronecta scholtzi, has been recorded at an impressive 99.2 decibels, this represents the equivalent of listening to an orchestra play loudly while sitting in the front row.

The frequency of the sound (around 10 kHz) is within human hearing range and Dr. James Windmill of the University of Strathclyde, explains one clue as to how loud the animals are:

Remarkably, even though 99% of sound is lost when transferring from water to air, the song is so loud that a person walking along the bank can actually hear these tiny creatures singing from the bottom of the river.

The song, used by males to attract mates, is produced by rubbing two body parts together, in a process called stridulation. In water boatmen the area used for stridulation is only about 50 micrometres across, roughly the width of a human hair.

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