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Moth wing scales slightly increase the absorbance of bat echolocation calls.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(11):e27190.Plos

Abstract

Coevolutionary arms races between predators and prey can lead to a diverse range of foraging and defense strategies, such as countermeasures between nocturnal insects and echolocating bats. Here, we show how the fine structure of wing scales may help moths by slightly increasing sound absorbance at frequencies typically used in bat echolocation. Using four widespread species of moths and butterflies, we found that moth scales are composed of honeycomb-like hollows similar to sound-absorbing material, but these were absent from butterfly scales. Micro-reverberation chamber experiments revealed that moth wings were more absorbent at the frequencies emitted by many echolocating bats (40-60 kHz) than butterfly wings. Furthermore, moth wings lost absorbance at these frequencies when scales were removed, which suggests that some moths have evolved stealth tactics to reduce their conspicuousness to echolocating bats. Although the benefits to moths are relatively small in terms of reducing their target strengths, scales may nonetheless confer survival advantages by reducing the detection distances of moths by bats by 5-6%.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Institute of Molecular Ecology and Evolution, East China Normal University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

22096534

Citation

Zeng, Jinyao, et al. "Moth Wing Scales Slightly Increase the Absorbance of Bat Echolocation Calls." PloS One, vol. 6, no. 11, 2011, pp. e27190.
Zeng J, Xiang N, Jiang L, et al. Moth wing scales slightly increase the absorbance of bat echolocation calls. PLoS ONE. 2011;6(11):e27190.
Zeng, J., Xiang, N., Jiang, L., Jones, G., Zheng, Y., Liu, B., & Zhang, S. (2011). Moth wing scales slightly increase the absorbance of bat echolocation calls. PloS One, 6(11), e27190. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027190
Zeng J, et al. Moth Wing Scales Slightly Increase the Absorbance of Bat Echolocation Calls. PLoS ONE. 2011;6(11):e27190. PubMed PMID: 22096534.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Moth wing scales slightly increase the absorbance of bat echolocation calls. AU - Zeng,Jinyao, AU - Xiang,Ning, AU - Jiang,Lei, AU - Jones,Gareth, AU - Zheng,Yongmei, AU - Liu,Bingwan, AU - Zhang,Shuyi, Y1 - 2011/11/09/ PY - 2011/07/13/received PY - 2011/10/11/accepted PY - 2011/11/19/entrez PY - 2011/11/19/pubmed PY - 2012/4/11/medline SP - e27190 EP - e27190 JF - PloS one JO - PLoS ONE VL - 6 IS - 11 N2 - Coevolutionary arms races between predators and prey can lead to a diverse range of foraging and defense strategies, such as countermeasures between nocturnal insects and echolocating bats. Here, we show how the fine structure of wing scales may help moths by slightly increasing sound absorbance at frequencies typically used in bat echolocation. Using four widespread species of moths and butterflies, we found that moth scales are composed of honeycomb-like hollows similar to sound-absorbing material, but these were absent from butterfly scales. Micro-reverberation chamber experiments revealed that moth wings were more absorbent at the frequencies emitted by many echolocating bats (40-60 kHz) than butterfly wings. Furthermore, moth wings lost absorbance at these frequencies when scales were removed, which suggests that some moths have evolved stealth tactics to reduce their conspicuousness to echolocating bats. Although the benefits to moths are relatively small in terms of reducing their target strengths, scales may nonetheless confer survival advantages by reducing the detection distances of moths by bats by 5-6%. SN - 1932-6203 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/22096534/Moth_wing_scales_slightly_increase_the_absorbance_of_bat_echolocation_calls_ L2 - http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027190 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -