Watch a camper control a lake full of waterbugs with his voice

water bugs react to noise Amy Lippus/YouTube

In Kaiser Wilderness, California, some campers were relaxing by a pond when they noticed some strange movement on the water.

Every time they spoke loudly or interjected, bugs resting on the surface of the water would react—in sync—causing ripples on the water. Luckily, the pair filmed the phenomenon.

These insects are called water boatmen. They carry an air bubble around their body and under their wings, breathing this stockpile of oxygen while they swim underwater to feed.

But maybe the most interesting thing about water boatmen are the sounds they make. While underwater, the males performs a serenade to attract potential mates through a process called stridulation. The resulting sound, which is so loud that people walking by can hear it from the bottom of the pond, makes the water boatman the noisiest animal in the world when body size is taken into account.

And how is this sound produced? Strangely enough, the males will rub their “private parts” against their abdomen to create this 78.9 decibel sound, which is the same as a passing freight train. Thankfully, most of the sound is lost in the water.

Have you heard the water boatmen’s cry or witnessed this strange auditory phenomenon?

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