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Hawkmoths emit sonic pulses from their genitals to jam bats’ echolocation capability

Jonathan Marker | Science Recorder | July 05, 2013

Hawkmoths emit sonic pulses from their genitals to jam bats’ echolocation capability

Malaysia has the highest diversity of hawkmoths in the entire world.

According to a study published July 3, 2013 in an online version of the journal Royal Society of Biology Letters, Boise State University researcher and study co-author Jesse R. Barber, and Akito Y. Kawahara, assistant curator of Lepidoptera at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, found that hawkmoths deter bats by emitting a so-called “anti-bat ultrasound.”  The emission of ultrasonic pulses from the genitals of the hawkmoths essentially jams the bats’ most precious hunting technique: echolocation.

Although hawkmoths are major pollinators, some are major agricultural pests, but researchers routinely utilize the Hawkmoth for beneficial genetic research. Only the Hawkmoth and the Tiger moth are known to have demonstrated ultrasonic emission capabilities.

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