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Moth With Ultrasonic Hearing Discovered

scotland research bioacoustician galleria mellonella vibrometer

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#1 Hum

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 22:01

The ubiquitous greater wax moth is ordinary in every way but one: It has the ability to hear the highest-known sound frequency.

The greater wax moth's hearing goes up to about 300 kilohertz, nearly 100 kHz higher than the hearing of some bats.

"This is the animal with the highest frequency sensitivity yet recorded, there's no other animal that can hear such a high frequency," said study co-author James Windmill, a bioacoustician at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.

The moth's ultrasonic hearing range, which was described Tuesday, May 7, in the journal Biology Letters, could help the creature hear the sonar communication of their predators, bats, Windmill said.

The nondescript brown moth species, Galleria mellonella, lives in North America, Europe and Asia and has a 1.1 inch wingspan. Its tiny ear is just 0.02 inches across.

Other researchers had tested the hearing of the greater wax moth, but gave up at about 100 kHz. But the moth's ear was so sensitive at that frequency that Windmill and his colleagues wondered just how high they could hear. (By comparison, the human ear can hear sounds up to just 20 kHz)

The research team used a laser vibrometer to measure the vibrations of the ear in response to sound waves. They also measured electrical signals in the ear nerve.

They then watched the ear as they raised the sound frequency higher and higher.

The researchers found that the moth's hearing went to an astonishing 300 kHtz.

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#2 DocM

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 01:29

Next step: figure out how it works. Might make for some interesting transducer tech.

#3 Osiris

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 01:55

Dehaka will collec't this moths essence

#4 Growled

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 03:48

Its tiny ear is just 0.02 inches across.


The instruments they use to measure this must be tiny.

#5 DocM

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 04:04

They used a laser beam, calculating the reflected beams doppler shift to measure the targets activity.

#6 Growled

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 04:07

Ah. Thanks for the info, Doc. :)

#7 OP Hum

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 15:06

Not sure what good hearing that high is ... bats are near ? run ?

#8 DocM

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 00:08

Passive sonar, but with higher spatial resolution than a bat because of the shorter wavelength.



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