Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bat News: Not So Good

This probably isn't news to bats, but it is news to the people who study them:

In response to sonar-guided attacking bats, some tiger moths make ultrasonic clicks of their own ... Using ultrasonic recording and high-speed infrared videography of bat-moth interactions, we show that the palatable tiger moth Bertholdia trigona [shown, image source] defends against attacking big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) using ultrasonic clicks that jam bat sonar. Sonar jamming extends the defensive repertoire available to prey in the long-standing evolutionary arms race between bats and insects.
Clever! One wonders if any of the species hunted by echolocating marine mammals have evolved a parallel technique?

Evolution is amazing, and evolutionary arms races are a special case of this. For all the inventiveness of the human mind, it is dwarfed by the unconscious, systematic workings of nature.

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