Eavesdropping Moths Predict Bats Next move: Deploy Countermeasures…

In a North Carolina laboratory, a live moth was clamped tight in a box with a microphone and made to panic. Through the panic, its powers of prediction were probed. The moth, a species of tiger moth called Bertholdia trigona, isn’t psychic. Instead, the moths’ hearing is the key. It’s one of two weapons it uses to stymy a deadly predator: the big brown bat. The panicking, if moths can truly be said to panic, may even tell us something more broadly about how, and when, animals respond to the threat of predators. Tiger moths have a peculiar response to the presence of bats, and B.trigona especially. When they hear them approaching, using ears just behind their wings, the moths start making ultrasonic clicks. The clicks—the reason for the microphone in the box— are made by an organ on their sides called a tymbal. For some species of tiger moth, ...(Read More)