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Echolocation Strategies and Self-Defense Maneuvers of Tiger Moths

APBIO-KSVOCL

According to research first conducted by Kenneth Roeder (1967), eared moths (e.g., Tiger moth) employ one of two flight behaviors depending on the how intense and close an echolocating bat is relative to its target. "Paired metathoracic tympana" (auditory membranes) are located near the moth's wings. Quiet echolocation calls indicate a distant bat that has not yet detected the moth, and the moth will turn away (sometimes called a "fly away") from the bat in order to avoid detection.

On the other hand, louder echolocation calls indicate a nearby bat in pursuit and the pursued moth will employ a non-directional evasive maneuver such as a dive or spiral to the ground. Additionally, this moth species has been observed to produce clicking sounds in response to bat echolocation. See figure below.

Corcoran, Aaron J., and William E. Conner. Figure 3: 3D Flight Trajectories. Digital image. Sonar Jamming. N.p., 5 Sept. 2012. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.

Which of the following is the MOST plausible reason for the various responses of the Tiger moth to an echolocating bat?

A

This echolocating bat's frequency range causes its wing muscles to temporarily seize.

B

This echolocating bat's frequency interrupts its ability to perceive its surroundings and is temporarily stunned.

C

This echolocating bat's frequency matches the range emitted by predatory bats during their hunting trips and is properly sensed by the moth.

D

This echolocating bat's frequency disrupts the air flow (aerodynamics) around the moth.