‘Screaming’ Moths Are A Toxic Warning For Bats

One of two tiger moths studied is pictured. Joseph Scheer

Most bats love insects, but some of them don’t taste so good and can even be poisonous for the flying mammals. So how do bats know which ones are toxic and which ones are tasty?

For the tiger moth, this natural defense mechanism comes in the form of acoustic warning signals — a behavior called acoustic aposematism.

Birds and some mammals use visual aposematic signals such as bright or contrasting patterns to advertise their toxicity. Bats, on the other hand, don’t rely on vision at night, so their primary method of hunting is echolocation. Therefore the moths developed an acoustic signal to deter the bats.

Cool huh? Click here to read my full article on STEAM Register.com.


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