Monthly Archives: November 2018

Came across this fascinating article about Cabbage tree emperor moths today.

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The cabbage tree emperor moth has wings with tiny scales that absorb sound waves sent out by bats searching for food. That absorption reduces the echoes that bounce back to bats, allowing Bunaea alcinoe to avoid being so noticeable to the nocturnal predators, researchers report online November 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


…it isn’t just wings that help such earless moths evade bats. Other moths in the same family as B. alcinoe also have sound-absorbing fur, the same researchers report online October 18 in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Holderied and his colleagues studied the fluffy thoraxes of the Madagascan bullseye moth and the promethea silk moth, and found that the fur also absorbs sound waves through a different process called porous absorption. In lab tests, the furry-bellied moths absorbed as much as 85 percent of the sound waves encountered. Researchers suspect that the equally fluffy cabbage tree emperor moth also has this ability.

Other moths that have ears can hear bats coming, and can quickly swerve out of the way of their predators, dipping and diving in dizzying directions (SN: 5/26/18, p. 11). Some moths also have long tails on their wings that researchers suspect can be twirled to disrupt bats’ sound waves (SN: 3/21/15, p. 17). Still other moths produce toxins to fend off foes.