Hawkmoths squeak their genitals at threatening bats

An approaching predator inspires ultrasonic rasping in insect prey

By Susan Milius, 10:32 AM July 3, 2013

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Sonar pings from a hungry bat closing in can inspire hawkmoths to get their genitals trilling.

The ultrasonic “eeeee” of scraping moth sex organs may serve as a last-second acoustic defense, says behavioral ecologist Jesse Barber of Boise State University in Idaho. In theory, the right squeak could jam bats’ targeting sonar, remind them of a noisy moth that tasted terrible or just startle them enough for the hawkmoth to escape.

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