Psst. This fly's ears can rival a cat's

By Susan Milius, 15:47 PM April 15, 2008

Owls and cats turn out to have a not-so-charismatic rival in their much-admired ability to pinpoint a sound's origin: a sound-tracking parasitic fly.

The flies are too tiny for the usual direction-fixing physiology to work, says Andrew C. Mason of the University of Toronto at Scarborough. Yet an unusual eardrum structure allows Ormia ochracea to pinpoint a sound's source to within 2 compass degrees, Mason reported this week in New Orleans at the meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.


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