In the Depths – hydrophone recordings

It is difficult to believe that life exists within this brown murky dam, however by placing a pair of hydrophones beneath its surface an entire aquatic ecosystem is revealed before us.

With one microphone acting as a geophone in the muddy bed of the dam beetles can be heard scratching and popping their way through the depths.

The vocalisations of Diving Beetles and Whirligig Beetles are then heard with a second microphone resting on the floor of the dam.

The peaceful sounds of the beetles belies their carnivorous nature. Diving Beetles feed on tadpoles and small fish, releasing a chemical into the surrounding water which stuns their prey. Liquefying juices are then injected into their prey before they are eaten as a “soup”. At night they often fly from their aquatic habitat and can be seen buzzing around street lights. Whirligig Beetles circle on the surface of ponds. Their eyes are divided into two halves – one for viewing above the surface, and one for below.

The sharp sonar-like calls of these aquatic beetles is perhaps a result of living in a habitat with no clear visibility. In their world the sonic environment is more important than the visual.


2 thoughts on “In the Depths – hydrophone recordings

  1. What extraordinary sounds. I really enjoyed listening to them. I really liked the photo, it set the scene so well. I can now place the sounds in context. Your hydrophones were obviously a good investment. I feel the need to investigate the depths of La Seine!
    Great work!


    1. Thanks Des – yes I’m extremely happy with the hydrophones. Their clarity and strength has surprised me. They’ve opened up a whole new space in which to record. I chose the hand-made Jez riley French mics as they were affordable and highly-recommended, with the profits going towards sound festivals and workshops. His post-purchase support has been limitless. You can visit his site at


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