Science: Sound & Survival

Far beyond the limit of human hearing, the high-pitched hunting cry of the bat makes the dark dangerous for night-flying insects. Bat chirps bounce off their tiny bodies like sonar pulses, giving their position away to the swooping enemy. Yet despite the bat's delicate detection equipment, many an insect escapes—and scientists have long wondered why. In the current issue of the American Scientist, Biologists Kenneth Roeder and Asher E. Treat explain how they pried into the defensive secrets of the noctuid moth, an insect that has demonstrated singular evasive skill.

Warning Wiggles. Working with infinite care, Roeder and Treat took a live...

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