Is fish sex keeping people awake in Hampshire?

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The mating calls of amorous fish could be the source of noise pollution in the Southampton area, with the problem becoming so bad that some people have actually moved out of their homes!

The loud, low-pitched droning sound, which usually starts up around 10pm in the evening and lasts for hours, is keeping families awake all night. The local council is now installing monitoring equipment in properties in the Hythe area to try and find out what's causing the din, after dozens of complaints from sleep-deprived locals.

Experts believe that the humming, which residents say 'pulsates' through their homes, could be caused by male fish in a local estuary.

Midshipman fish — pictured above — have caused similar problems in Seattle in the US, where their distinctive drone is known as the 'West Seattle Hum'. Males in the nearby Duwamish waterway produce a humming noise using their swimbladders to attract a mate. The sound increases in volume as other males compete for attention — and it's also amplified as it bounces off buildings and ships in the area. The droning noise heard by residents around Hythe is reportedly very similar.

Dr Ben Wilson of the Scottish Association for Marine Science claimed fish could be responsible.

"It’s not beyond the realms of possibility. There are certainly "sonic fish" in the north Atlantic and the approaches to the English Channel," he said.

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