Acoustic mimicry in a predator–prey interaction

  title={Acoustic mimicry in a predator–prey interaction},
  author={Jesse R. Barber and William E. Conner},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  pages={9331 - 9334}
  • J. Barber, W. Conner
  • Published 29 May 2007
  • Biology
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Mimicry of visual warning signals is one of the keystone concepts in evolutionary biology and has received substantial research attention. By comparison, acoustic mimicry has never been rigorously tested. Visualizing bat–moth interactions with high-speed, infrared videography, we provide empirical evidence for acoustic mimicry in the ultrasonic warning sounds that tiger moths produce in response to echolocating bats. Two species of sound-producing tiger moths were offered successively to naïve… 

Figures from this paper

Convergent evolution of anti-bat sounds

A previously unknown sound-producing organ in Geometrid moths is described—a prothoracic tymbal in the orange beggar moth (Eubaphe unicolor) that generates bursts of ultrasonic clicks in response to tactile stimulation and playback of a bat echolocation attack sequence.

Naïve bats discriminate arctiid moth warning sounds but generalize their aposematic meaning

These kinematic and bioacoustic results show that although naïve bats generalize the meaning of aposematic tiger moth calls, they discriminate the prey-generated signals as different and investigate, suggesting that acoustic predators probably exert potent and fine-scaled selective forces on acoustic mimicry complexes.

Multimodal warning signals for a multiple predator world

It is shown that warning signals of tiger moths vary according to the seasonal and daily activity patterns of birds and bats—predators with divergent sensory capacities; and it is suggested that the evolution of acoustic warning signals may lack the theoretical difficulties associated with the origination of conspicuous colouration.

To Scream or to Listen? Prey Detection and Discrimination in Animal-Eating Bats

It is now known that at least one species of bat is able to resolve echoes reflected from large insect prey from the Echoes reflected from the vegetation on which the insect is perched, because background echoes were assumed to mask those reflected from prey.

Predator–Prey Interactions: Co-evolution between Bats and Their Prey

Co-evolution is defined as a process in which the evolution of traits in the predator is in direct response to the evolution in the prey which in turn evolved in directresponse to the traits of the predator and so on.

Crying wolf to a predator: deceptive vocal mimicry by a bird protecting young

It is demonstrated that prey can fool predators by deceptively mimicking alarm calls of harmless species, suggesting that defensive mimicry could be more widespread because of indirect effects on predators within a web of eavesdropping.

Anti-Bat Ultrasound Production in Moths is Globally and Phylogenetically Widespread

A long-term study across the globe, assaying moth response to playback of bat echolocation, finds preliminary evidence of independent origins of sonar jamming in at least six subfamilies, and suggests that jamming and warning are not mutually exclusive strategies.

Hawkmoths produce anti-bat ultrasound

Hawkmoths present a novel and tractable system to study both the function and evolution of anti-bat defences, and preliminary data indicate that females also produce ultrasound to touch and playback of echolocation attack, but they do so with an entirely different mechanism.

Sonar jamming in the field: effectiveness and behavior of a unique prey defense

The effect of sonar jamming was highly effective, with bats capturing more than 10 times as many silenced moths as clicking moths and the timing of B. trigona defensive maneuvers is discussed in the context of moth auditory neuroethology.



Sound strategy: acoustic aposematism in the bat–tiger moth arms race

It is found that the bats only respond to the sounds of arctiids when they are paired with defensive chemistry, and the sounds are in essence a warning to the bats that the moth is unpalatable—an aposematic signal.

Predator learning favours mimicry of a less-toxic model in poison frogs

This work supports a mechanism of toxicity-dependent stimulus generalization, revealing an additional solution for batesian mimicry where multiple models coexist, by exploring a poison-frog mimicry complex comprising two parapatric models and a geographically dimorphic mimic that shows monomorphism where models co-occur.

'Un chant d'appel amoureux': acoustic communication in moths

  • Conner
  • Biology
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1999
The weapons of bat/moth warfare have frequently evolved into components of courtship systems and ultrasound is predicted to play a significant role in the courtship of other tympanate moths.

Snake Bioacoustics: Toward a Richer Understanding of the Behavioral Ecology of Snakes

  • B. Young
  • Environmental Science
    The Quarterly Review of Biology
  • 2003
The ability of snakes to contextualize the sounds and respond with consistent predatory or defensive behaviors suggests that auditory stimuli may play a larger role in the behavioral ecology of snakes than was previously realized.

Tiger moth responses to a simulated bat attack: timing and duty cycle

No relationship exists between the duty cycle of a tiger moth's call (and thus the call's probability of jamming the bat) and its temporal response to bat attack, calling into doubt the assumptions behind the jamming hypothesis.

The evolution of müllerian mimicry in multispecies communities

It is shown, using a system of humans hunting for computer-generated prey, that predators do not always generate strong selection for mimicry when there are two unprofitable prey types, and suggests that müllerian mimicry is more likely to arise in multispecies communities.

Interactions between bats and arctiid moths

Free-flying arctiid moths changed their flight paths less in response to trains of ultrasonic pulses than did moths of other families similarly capable of hearing these signals.

Arctiid moth clicks can degrade the accuracy of range difference discrimination in echolocating big brown bats, Eptesicus fuscus

  • L. Miller
  • Biology
    Journal of Comparative Physiology A
  • 2004
Four big brown bats born and raised in captivity were trained using the Yes/No psychophysical method to report whether a virtual sonar target was at a standard distance or not, and clicks presented for the very first time could startle naive bats to different degrees depending on the individual.

A comparative study of ultrasound‐triggered behaviour in tiger beetles (Cicindelidae)

Superimposing these data on a current phylogeny of the North American tiger beetles suggests that acoustic behaviour (and hearing) is a shared primitive trait among the taxa examined here and that there have been at least five independent losses of this character.

Echolocation by Insect-Eating Bats

This article describes the echolocation behavior of insect-eating bats and shows how differing circumstances such as habitat type, foraging mode, and diet favor different signal types, and outlines the perceptual tasks that must be performed by foraging bats.