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.