Document Detail

The adaptive function of tiger moth clicks against echolocating bats: an experimental and synthetic approach.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16326950     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
We studied the efficiency and effects of the multiple sensory cues of tiger moths on echolocating bats. We used the northern long-eared bat, Myotis septentrionalis, a purported moth specialist that takes surface-bound prey (gleaning) and airborne prey (aerial hawking), and the dogbane tiger moth, Cycnia tenera, an eared species unpalatable to bats that possesses conspicuous colouration and sound-producing organs (tymbals). This is the first study to investigate the interaction of tiger moths and wild-caught bats under conditions mimicking those found in nature and to demand the use of both aerial hawking and gleaning strategies by bats. Further, it is the first to report spectrograms of the sounds produced by tiger moths while under aerial attack by echolocating bats. During both aerial hawking and gleaning trials, all muted C. tenera and perched intact C. tenera were attacked by M. septentrionalis, indicating that M. septentrionalis did not discriminate C. tenera from palatable moths based on potential echoic and/or non-auditory cues. Intact C. tenera were attacked significantly less often than muted C. tenera during aerial hawking attacks: tymbal clicks were therefore an effective deterrent in an aerial hawking context. During gleaning attacks, intact and muted C. tenera were always attacked and suffered similar mortality rates, suggesting that while handling prey this bat uses primarily chemical signals. Our results also show that C. tenera temporally matches the onset of click production to the ;approach phase' echolocation calls produced by aerial hawking attacking bats and that clicks themselves influence the echolocation behaviour of attacking bats. In the context of past research, 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. We suggest these signals are specialized for an aerial context.
John M Ratcliffe; James H Fullard
Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  208     ISSN:  0022-0949     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2005 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-12-05     Completed Date:  2006-09-01     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  4689-98     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Zoology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3G5, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
Discrimination (Psychology) / physiology
Echolocation / physiology*
Moths / physiology*
Predatory Behavior / physiology*
Sound Spectrography
Erratum In:
J Exp Biol. 2006 Jul;209(Pt 14):2811

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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