Extremely high frequency sensitivity in a 'simple' ear

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Abstract

An evolutionary war is being played out between the bat, which uses ultrasonic calls to locate insect prey, and the moth, which uses microscale ears to listen for the approaching bat. While the highest known frequency of bat echolocation calls is 212 kHz, the upper limit of moth hearing is considered much lower. Here, we show that the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella, is capable of hearing ultrasonic frequencies approaching 300 kHz; the highest frequency sensitivity of any animal. With auditory frequency sensitivity that is unprecedented in the animal kingdom, the greater wax moth is ready and armed for any echolocation call adaptations made by the bat in the on-going bat–moth evolutionary war.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20130241
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Volume9
Issue number4
Early online date8 May 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2013

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Keywords

  • bioacoustics
  • hearing
  • laser Doppler vibrometry
  • electrophysiology
  • tympanal organ
  • Galleria mellonella

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