It’s hard to hide from a bat: The camouflage and mimicry techniques that animals use to avoid becoming a meal aren’t much use against a predator using echolocation. But a new study shows that moths can outsmart sonar with a flick of their long tails.
The study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows luna moths spin their trailing hindtails as they fly, confusing the sonar cries bats use to detect prey and other objects.
The collaborative work between University of Florida and Boise State University researchers is a first step in determining why bats are lured into striking a false target. The findings could have implications on sonar development for the military, said Akito Kawahara, assistant curator of Lepidoptera at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus, who was UF’s research leader on the project.
“This finding expands our knowledge of anti-predator deflection strategies and the extent of a long-standing evolutionary arms race between bats and moths,” Kawahara said.
The study is the first to show that insects use this type of trickery to thwart bats. Other animals also might use acoustic deflection strategies, said lead author Jesse Barber, a biologist at Boise State University.
Using high-speed infrared cameras and ultrasonic microphones, the researchers watched brown bats preying on moths. Luna moths with tails were 47 percent more likely to survive an attack than moths without tails. Bats targeted the tail during 55 percent of the interactions, suggesting the moths may lure bats to the tails to make an attack more survivable.
While more than half of the 140,000 species of nocturnal moths have sonar-detecting ears that provide a similar level of protection, more than 65,000 species lack this defense, Kawahara said.
“When you pit them against bats, bats can’t find the moths. They go to the tail instead of the head,” Kawahara said. “When you look at Lepidoptera collections, you see moths with really short tails and some with extremely long tails. This also is an example of the important role biological collections serve as repositories of patterns and processes of biodiversity.”
Kawahara said the study provides better understanding of biodiversity.
“Most people focus on the beautiful things that are around us during the day, but there’s spectacular diversity in the places we cannot easily see, like in the soil, in the deep ocean, or in the night sky —places we really don’t really often think about,” Kawahara said. “Understanding nocturnal animal interactions is essential at a time when human activities are having major impacts on the natural world.”
Writer: Stephenie Livingston, email@example.com
Source: Akito Kawahara, 352-273-2018, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephenie Livingston | newswise
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences