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56 — Moths Use Ultrasonic Clicks to Escape Bats

2016-01-24. By Kelly.

Fig. 1.    A hawkmoth. Photograph by Joris van Alphen, Nature Picture Library

Hawk moths are able to avoid bats by emitting a sound produced from an apparatus. In a Boreno study in 2013, Jesse Barber, a behavioral biologist and Akito Kawahara, an evolutionary biologist observe hawk moths in Borneo using video and audio to tape the hawk moths reaction to bat calls. The moths reacted by vibrating their genitals to create the ultrasonic sound. During their study they found that the hawk moths sound distracted the bat either by producing a sound similar to a moth species that the bats find distasteful or causing the bat to be distracted and halt their pursuit. William Conner and his graduates work suggests that the sound produced by the hawk moth jams the bat signals. They found that bat were much more successful at targeting the silence species of moths than the moths producing ultrasonic clicks. The research on these moth and bats made me wonder what lead to the development of this complicated and effective strategy that moths use to avoid their predators?

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