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Superloud moth jams bat sonar

Loud blast essentially renders moths invisible to predators

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6:00pm, January 9, 2009

A gray moth with orange highlights called Bertholdia trigona “goes berserk,” making lots of noise above the range of human hearing when a hunting bat approaches, says William Conner of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. Bats rely on their natural sonar to locate flying moths in the dark, but in a lab setup, the bats rarely managed to nab a loud moth.

When researchers disabled the moth’s noisemaking organs, though, bats caught the moths in midair with ease, Conner reported at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

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