The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.
When a bat lets loose a blast of sound, its ears close for a split second. Otherwise, the squeaks are so loud, they could temporarily deafen the bat.
Some tiger moths taste horrible. When these moths hear a bat, they vibrate organs on their tummies called tymbals. The tymbals make clicks to warn the bat: “Don’t eat me. I taste yucky.”
Other tiger moths taste yummy— at least to hungry bats. To avoid becoming a midnight snack, these moths imitate the tymbal clicks of moths that taste yucky.
When hunting, a bat produces nearly 4,500 squeaks each second. The squeaks hit nearby objects and bounce back to the bat’s ears, painting a picture in the bat’s brain of its surroundings.
Bats bag bugs in their wing and tail membranes then pass the morsels to their mouths for an inflight snack.
One kind of tiger moth uses tymbal clicks to make a bat’s squeaks sound fuzzy and garbled. By jamming the bat’s sonar, this tiger moth becomes virtually invisible in total darkne
Who knew the night sky was so noisy? In the sonic battle between bat and bug, tymbals give tiger moths the upper hand—uh, wing.
Nichole LeClair Terrill