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5 julio 2011 2 05 /07 /julio /2011 16:24

Para comunicarse a larga distancia, los animales tienen que producir señales intensas, pero inteligibles. Esta tarea puede ser difícil de lograr debido a las restricciones mecánicas, en particular en relación con el tamaño corporal. Mientras que el comportamiento acústico de los grandes animales marinos y terrestres se ha estudiado a fondo, se sabe muy poco sobre el sonido producido por pequeños artrópodos que viven en hábitats de agua dulce.

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Se analiza por primera vez la canción de reclamo sexual producida por el macho de un pequeño insecto, el Micronecta scholtzi, boatman, remero o barquero. La canción está compuesta de tres partes distintas que difieren en sus parámetros temporales y de amplitud, pero no en su contenido de frecuencia. El sonido se produce a 78,9 (63,6-82,2) SPL rms re 2.10-5 Pa con un pico de 99,2 (85,7 a 104,6) SPL re 2.10-5 Pa estimado a una distancia de un metro.

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Esta producción de energía es significativa teniendo en cuenta el pequeño tamaño de estos insectos. Al comparar la escala de la longitud del cuerpo en 227 especies acústica, la energía acústica producida por M. scholtzi aparece como un valor extremo, superando a las vocalizaciones de mamíferos marinos y terrestres.

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El animal más ruidoso de la Tierra en proporción a su tamaño

 

El Micronecta Scholtzi, una chinche de agua, produce un fuerte sonido, el equivalente a escuchar a una orquesta en primera fila, al frotar su pene contra el abdomen

 

 

 

 

 
So Small, So Loud: Extremely High Sound Pressure Level from a ...  de J Sueur - 2011 - PLoS ONE 6(6): e21089. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021089 ... Water-boatman species belonging to the genus Micronecta (Corixidae, Micronectinae) are known to use ... Specimens of M. scholtzi were collected in a river in Paris (France, ... www.plosone.org/.../info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0021089 - En caché 
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El animal más ruidoso de la Tierra en proporción a su tamaño es un insecto acuático que mide tan solo 2 milímetros y que para atraer a las hembras "canta" con una potencia de hasta 99,2 decibelios, el equivalente a escuchar a una orquesta en primera fila.

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Científicos del Museo Nacional de Historia natural de París y de la Universidad escocesa de Strathclyde han logrado grabar y medir por primera vez con micrófonos bajo el agua el sonido que produce el Micronecta Scholtzi, una chinche acuática, al frotar su pene contra el abdomen, en un proceso conocido como estridulación.

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"Increíblemente, aunque el 99 por ciento del sonido se pierde al pasar del agua al aire, el canto es tan intenso que una persona que anda por la orilla puede oír a estas diminutas criaturas cantando desde el fondo del río", señala en una nota el biólogo James Windmill, de la universidad de Strathclyde.

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Los animales más ruidosos de la Tierra suelen ser los más grandes, como las ballenas azules y los elefantes. Pero, según el estudio, si se compara la intensidad del sonido con el tamaño de su cuerpo, los Micronecta Scholtzi son los campeones de la estridencia.

La investigación, publicada en la revista PLoS One, será presentada este sábado en la conferencia anual de la Sociedad para la Biología Experimental que se celebra entre el 1 y el 4 de julio en Glasgow (Escocia).

 

Según Windmill, es un misterio cómo estos insectos logran hacer tanto ruido, ya que sólo utilizan una zona de 50 micrómetros -del ancho de un cabello humano- para la estridulación.

 

 

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To communicate at long range, animals have to produce intense but intelligible signals. This task might be difficult to achieve due to mechanical constraints, in particular relating to body size. Whilst the acoustic behaviour of large marine and terrestrial animals has been thoroughly studied, very little is known about the sound produced by small arthropods living in freshwater habitats. Here we analyse for the first time the calling song produced by the male of a small insect, the water boatman Micronecta scholtzi. The song is made of three distinct parts differing in their temporal and amplitude parameters, but not in their frequency content. Sound is produced at 78.9 (63.6–82.2) SPL rms re 2.10−5 Pa with a peak at 99.2 (85.7–104.6) SPL re 2.10−5 Pa estimated at a distance of one metre. This energy output is significant considering the small size of the insect. When scaled to body length and compared to 227 other acoustic species, the acoustic energy produced by M. scholtzi appears as an extreme value, outperforming marine and terrestrial mammal vocalisations. Such an extreme display may be interpreted as an exaggerated secondary sexual trait resulting from a runaway sexual selection without predation pressure.

 

 

  Tiny water insect makes record-breaking song with his penis

  
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If you walk by a European river on a summer’s day, you might get to hear the animal kingdom’s champion vocalist. His song sounds like a train of chirps, and from a metre away, it’s as loud as whirring power tools. The din is all the more incredible because it is produced by an insect just two millimetres in length – the lesser water boatman, Micronecta scholtzi

Micronecta means “small swimmer” and it is aptly named. It’s among the smallest of the several hundred species of water boatmen that row across the bottom of ponds and streams with paddle-shaped legs. The males are the ones that sing, and they often do so in large choruses to attract the silent females. These songs are famously loud. Even though the insect lives underwater, you can hear its call from the riverbank, several metres away.

Now, Jérôme Sueur from the Natural History Museum in Paris has measured Micronecta’s song using underwater microphones. He found that it the small swimmer is a record-breaker. On average, it reaches 79 decibels, about the level of a ringing phone or a cocktail party. But at its peak, it reaches 105 decibels – more like a car horn, a power tool or a passing subway train.

There are animals that make far louder calls. The record goes to the sperm whale, which can create clicks of around 236 decibels underwater (equivalent to 170 decibels on land). Other animals, including elephants, hippos and dolphins can produce louder calls than Micronecta.

But pound for pound, there is no competition. All of these animals are very big, and it stands to reason that large objects can produce louder sounds – think about the difference between a concert amp and a set of headphones. The sperm whale, for example, grows up to 16 metres in length and weighs up to 14 tonnes. Micronecta, on the other hand, produces its phenomenal song with a body that’s no bigger than one of these letters. Sueur compared the ratio of call intensity to body size for 227 different animals, from whales to insects, and found that the water boatmen out-sang them all.

How does such a tiny insect make such a loud noise? It’s not clear. It seems to do so by rubbing its ribbed penis against ridges on its belly, playing its genitals like a miniature fiddler. But the “bow” here is just 50 micrometres long, and there are no obvious body parts to amplify the noise.

But maybe the amplifier isn’t a body part at all. Like other water boatmen, Micronecta traps a layer of air around its body using microscopic hairs. This layer helps it to breathe, but Sueur speculates that it could also act as an echo-chamber, reflecting the sound of the penis-fiddling again and again. The details, however, are a mystery. As Sueur writes, “To observe the micro-mechanics of such a small system remains a significant challenge.”

Sueur also has an idea about why the water boatman’s song is so loud. He compares the song to the complex melodies of birds or the long antlers of deer – it’s a sexual signal that indicates a strong, powerful mate. If females prefer loud males over quiet ones, the male’s song would become exaggerated over time.

There are some obvious ways of testing this. If Sueur is right, females should prefer louder males, which should be easy to test with speakers and some recordings. Sueur also thinks that M.scholtzi probably has no predators that hunt by sound – otherwise, such hunters would limit the evolution of an extreme song by snatching up the loudest males. We know nothing about what eats M.scholtzi and Sueur plans on finding out.

Reference: Sueur, Mackie and Windmill. 2011. So Small, So Loud: Extremely High Sound Pressure Level from a Pygmy Aquatic Insect (Corixidae, Micronectinae). PLoS ONE http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021089

 

 

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More on animal calls:

City birds struggle to make themselves heard
Orang-utans use leaves to lie about their size
Cats manipulate their owners with a cry embedded in a purr
Female antbirds jam their partners’ songs when other females approach
Mosquitoes harmonise their buzzing in love duets
Eland antelopes click their knees to prove their dominance
Singing fish reveal shared origins of vertebrate vocals
Sound the alarm – crested pigeons give off warning whistles simply by taking off
Boom-boom-krak-oo – Campbell’s monkeys combine just six ‘words’ into rich vocabulary

 

 

 

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/files/2011/06/Micronecta_scholtzi_water

 

 

_BBC Nature - 'Singing penis' sets noise record for water insect

30 Jun 2011 – "If you scale the sound level they produce against their body size, Micronecta scholtzi are the loudest animals on Earth," said Dr Windmill. ...
www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13958630 - En caché - Añadir a iGoogle

Micronecta scholtzi world's most noisy animal : THE NEWS REPORTER

30 Jun 2011 – Micronecta scholtzi the loudest animal on earth make noise with penis. A tiny water boatman is the loudest animal on Earth relative to its ...
www.thenewspointer.info/thenewsreporter/?...micronecta-scholtzi...most...animal - En caché 

'Singing penis' sets noise record for water insect - NewsPlurk

29 Jun 2011 – Bug's Penis Makes Loudest Animal Sound. Bug, By Wired UK By Mark Brown, ... The male lesser water boatman, aka Micronecta scholtzi, more ...
technology.newsplurk.com/.../penis-sets-noise-record-for-water.html - En caché 

Water boatman is the world's loudest animal - Telegraph

2 Jul 2011 – Scientists have found that the water boatman Micronecta scholtzi produces more noise than any other animal relative to its body size. ...
www.telegraph.co.uk/.../Water-boatman-is-the-worlds-loudest-animal.html - Añadir a iGoogle

Tal demostración extrema puede ser interpretada como un rasgo exagerado de caracteres sexuales secundarios como resultado de una selección sexual, sin la presión de depredación.

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  • : Ecología y sostenibilidad socioambiental, énfasis en conservación de ríos y ecosistemas, denuncia de impacto de megaproyectos. Todo esto es indesligable de la política y por ello esta también se observa. Ecology, social and environmental sustainability, emphasis on conservation of rivers and ecosystems, denounces impact of megaprojects. All this is inseparable from politics, for it, the politics is also evaluated.
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  • Biólogo desde hace más de treinta años, desde la época en que aún los biólogos no eran empleados de los abogados ambientalistas. Actualmente preocupado …alarmado en realidad, por el LESIVO TRATADO DE(DES)INTEGRACIÓN ENERGÉTICA CON BRASIL
  • Biólogo desde hace más de treinta años, desde la época en que aún los biólogos no eran empleados de los abogados ambientalistas. Actualmente preocupado …alarmado en realidad, por el LESIVO TRATADO DE(DES)INTEGRACIÓN ENERGÉTICA CON BRASIL

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