Moth ears are among the simplest in the insect world—they have only two or four vibration-sensitive neurons attached to a small eardrum. Previously, it was thought that these ears were only partially sensitive to the sound frequencies commonly used by bats, and it would seem likely that by using high ultrasound, bats would make their hunting calls inaudible to moths.
However, as now reported by James Windmill and colleagues at the University of Bristol (UK), moths are not as deaf as they had previously been supposed to be. The findings appear in the December 19th issue of the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press.
The new work shows that the ear of the yellow underwing moth changes its frequency (pitch) sensitivity in response to sound. As a bat gets closer to a moth, both the loudness and frequency of sound increase. Surprisingly, the sensitivity of the moth’s ear to the bat’s calls also increases, as the moth ear dynamically becomes more sensitive to the frequencies that many bats use when attacking moths. Furthermore, the ear remains tuned up in this way for several minutes after the sound stops, ready in case there is another attack.
To date, this phenomenon has apparently not been reported for insects, or in fact for any other hearing system in the animal kingdom. This finding changes our understanding of the co-evolution of bats and moths—for example, as the moth cleverly tunes its ear to enhance its detection of bats, do some bats in turn modify their calls to avoid detection by moths" The authors point out that, in view of the vast diversity of bat calls, this is to be expected.
Erin Doonan | EurekAlert!
Histology in 3D: new staining method enables Nano-CT imaging of tissue samples
22.02.2018 | Technische Universität München
Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals
21.02.2018 | University of Chicago
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
22.02.2018 | Business and Finance
22.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
22.02.2018 | Life Sciences