Tiger Moth Jams Bat Sonar

  title={Tiger Moth Jams Bat Sonar},
  author={Aaron J. Corcoran and Jesse R. Barber and William E. Conner},
  pages={325 - 327}
Moths Battling Bats Many night-flying insects hear the sonar sounds of attacking bats and take evasive action. Among moths, evasive flight is often accompanied by the production of ultrasonic sounds. Three functions of these sounds have been proposed: to startle the bat, to warn of distastefulness, or to “jam” the bat's sonar system. Corcoran et al. (p. 325) studied a species of tiger moth (Bertholdia trigona) that emits a particularly dense series of ultrasonic clicks and the interception… 
How do tiger moths jam bat sonar?
Three-dimensional simulations of the three-dimensional flight paths and echolocation behavior of big brown bats attacking B. trigona show that bats did not avoid phantom targets, and the bats' ability to track clicking prey contradicts the predictions of the masking hypothesis.
Sonar jamming in the bat-moth arms race
Evidence is strong for the warning and startle hypotheses, although the startle effect is ephemeral, and the sonar jamming hypothesis has not been confirmed to occur in nature.
Anti-bat tiger moth sounds: Form and function
A principal components analysis of the anti-bat tiger moth sounds reveals that they vary markedly along three axes: frequency, duty cycle and frequency modulation, and modulation cycle (clicks produced during flexion and relaxation of the sound producing tymbal).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Moth hearing and sound communication
Recent findings on moth sound communication reveal that close-range (~ a few cm) communication with low-intensity ultrasounds “whispered” by males during courtship is not uncommon, contrary to the general notion of moths predominantly being silent.
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.


Jamming bat echolocation: the dogbane tiger moth Cycnia tenera times its clicks to the terminal attack calls of the big brown bat Eptesicus fuscus.
The results demonstrate that, at normal echolocation intensities, C. tenera does not respond to approach calls but waits until the terminal phase of the attack before emitting its clicks, and support the hypothesis of a jamming effect.
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.
The adaptive function of tiger moth clicks against echolocating bats: an experimental and synthetic approach
These findings support the hypotheses that the clicks of arctiid moths are both an active defence (through echolocation disruption) and a reliable indicator of chemical defence against aerial-hawking bats.
Acoustic mimicry in a predator–prey interaction
Visualizing bat–moth interactions with high-speed, infrared videography, empirical evidence for acoustic mimicry in the ultrasonic warning sounds that tiger moths produce in response to echolocating bats is provided.
The influence of arctiid moth clicks on bat echolocation; jamming or warning?
The results suggest that the function of the garden tiger and ruby tiger clicks in nature is to warn the bat of the moth's distastefulness, and not to ‘jam’ the bat's sonar system.
Arctiid moths and bat echolocation: broad-band clicks interfere with neural responses to auditory stimuli in the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus of the big brown bat
Recorded responses of single units in the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus to combinations of a broad-band click and a test signal shows a close match between the single unit data and previous studies of range difference discrimination in the presence of clicks.
Automatic gain control in the bat's sonar receiver and the neuroethology of echolocation
  • S. A. Kick, J. Simmons
  • Physics
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
  • 1984
It is hypothesized that the bat's directional emissions, directional hearing, middle ear muscle contractions, and head aim response collectively create a three- dimensional spatial tracking filter which the bat locks onto targets to stabilize echo amplitudes during interception of prey.