How Some Insects Detect and Avoid Being Eaten by Bats: Tactics and Countertactics of Prey and Predator

  title={How Some Insects Detect and Avoid Being Eaten by Bats: Tactics and Countertactics of Prey and Predator},
  author={Lee A. Miller and Annemarie Surlykke},
S insects have evolved audition and evasive behaviors in response to selective pressure from bats, and other insects were preadapted to detecting ultrasonic signals. Some bats have evolved in turn, improving the range or resolution of sonar signals and serendipitously making them less detectable by insects. In other words, there is a kind of evolutionary escalation going on between bats and insects. Our aim with this review is to present the complex interactions between echolocating bats and… 

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.

Ultrasonic predator–prey interactions in water–convergent evolution with insects and bats in air?

It is strongly suggested that the production of high amplitude ultrasonic clicks serve the function of improving the detection range of the toothed whale biosonar system rather than debilitation of prey.

Detecting the danger : How do moths and butterflies manage to escape their predators ?

The bat – moth model is a significant representative of coevolution and leads to a better understanding of prey – predator relationships and how organisms respond and adapt – behaviorally as well as morphologically – to their environment and increased predator pressure.

Passive and Active Acoustic Defences of Prey Against Bat Predation

The evolution, ecology, and physiology of insect audition in the context of bat predation is reviewed and a detailed review of the jamming, aposematic, and startle functions of moth clicks is provided.

What does an insect hear? Reassessing the role of hearing in predator avoidance with insights from vertebrate prey.

Research on the role of insect hearing in predator avoidance has been disproportionally focused on bat-detection, and that acoustically-mediated responses to other predators may have been overlooked because the responses of prey may be subtle (e.g. ceasing activity, increasing vigilance).

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.

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.

Sound strategies: the 65-million-year-old battle between bats and insects.

In an exciting new twist, researchers are taking the technologies developed in the laboratory back into the field, where they are poised to appreciate the full richness of this remarkable predator-prey interaction.

Convergent Evolution of Wingbeat-Powered Anti-Bat Ultrasound in the Microlepidoptera

It is demonstrated that wingbeat-powered ultrasound production, likely providing an anti-bat function, appears to indeed be spread widely in the microlepidoptera; showing that acoustically active structures (aeroelastic tymbals, ATs) have evolved in at least three, and likely four different regions of the wing.



The neuroethology of acoustic startle and escape in flying insects.

A neural analysis of ultrasound-mediated escape behavior in cricket Telegryllus oceanicus found that neural activity descending from the brain in response to stimulation by ultrasound is increased when the insect is flying compared to when it is not, and further analysis shows it to be anything but simple.

Neural factors and evitability in insect behavior.

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    The Journal of experimental zoology
  • 1975
Noctuid moths show two types of evasive response pattern when their tympanic organs detect the ultrasonic cries of marauding insectivorous bats; the possible survival value of some evitability in this behavior under natural circumstances is discussed.

Echolocation behaviour of vespertilionid bats (Lasiurus cinereus and Lasiurus borealis) attacking airborne targets including arctiid moths

There was, however, no threshold value unambiguously separating successful from unsuccessful attacks in either species and the responses of bats to tossed pebbles and to some insects indicated that during some feeding buzzes L. borealis and L. cinereus judged the nature and range of prey being attacked.

Predation risk and mating behavior: the responses of moths to bat-like ultrasound

Results support the neurophysiological data that the calls of gleaning bats are relatively inaudible to moths, and indicate that some animals can modify their reproductive activities in response to auditory cues from predators.

Interaction Between Echolocating Bats and Their Prey

Bats exploiting such cues may cease echolocation in the final phase (Fiedler, 1979), hence, minimizing the prey’s potential possibility of detecting the eCholocation signals of the predator.

Moth hearing on the Faeroe Islands, an area without bats

The fact that the moths on the Faeroes possess such sensitive ears is explained by the large time spans which might be required for reduction of a character which is not directly opposed by a selection pressure.

Foraging ecology and audition in echolocating bats.

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  • Environmental Science
    Trends in ecology & evolution
  • 1989

'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.

Auditory changes in noctuid moths endemic to a bat‐free habitat

It is concluded that endemic moths at this site exhibit preliminary stages of deafness and that, considering their small cellular investment, ears in moths will be lost at a slower rate than more complex sensory organs.