Sunday, December 6, 2020

Evading Bat Sonar: Moths

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature, Biodiversity, Biological Evolution

Ed Hessler

A strategy for evading bat sonar has been found in the scales on the wings of two different moths that effectively hides them from predation by bats.

Anthony King's short article in ChemistryWorld reports on research published in the  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The two moths that were examined were the Chinese tusar (sic, is tasar) moth (Antheraea pernyi) and Dactyloceras lucing, a large African moth. Both species are earless. Instead, according to a description in the November 26 Nature Briefing they rely on a "dense array of tiny, thin scales that each resonate at a particular frequency (to) absorb" sound--"at least three octaves". 

It is the first known natural acoustic metamaterial." One possible use mentioned  by the authors could be "sound-absorbing wallpaper." The design of materials inspired by examples found in the natural world is known as biomimicry.

King's report is linked to the original paper if you are interested in the full details, techniques and illustrations. King writes about some of them. In addition, at the top of King's report are several  photographs, each with captions (be sure to turn this feature on).

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