2021-04-06

Research says fireflies may use ultrasonic “music armor” to defend against bat attacks

By yqqlm yqqlm

Research says fireflies may use ultrasonic “music armor” to defend against bat attacks

Fireflies are famous for their fluorescent tails, which are mainly As a mating signal. People usually think that this will make fireflies easy targets for predators, but scientists believe that in fact the opposite is true-fireflies are poisonous and are not ideal food for most predators. They think this light is A kind of warning.

But for bats that mainly use echolocation to prey, this defense mechanism will not help. In a new study, researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology (VAST) discovered that fireflies may have evolved a kind of “audio armor” to resist bat attacks.

Research says fireflies may use ultrasonic “music armor” to defend against bat attacks(1)

“We are able to record the high frequency of bats The microphone was wandering in the tropical forest. Suddenly, we detected strange sounds of similar frequencies. These sounds came from fireflies.” said Yossi Yovel, the lead researcher of the study.

After careful observation, the research team found that these insects make noise by moving their wings. Subsequent laboratory tests found that at least four different fireflies have this behavior. The important thing is that this noise is emitted at the frequency of ultrasound-which means that the fireflies can’t hear it themselves. This shows that they did not use it for any form of communication between other members of their species.

Research says fireflies may use ultrasonic “music armor” to defend against bat attacks(2)

However, bats can hear it, this This led the team to propose a hypothesis: that ultrasound is a “musical armor” to warn predators.

Research says fireflies may use ultrasonic “music armor” to defend against bat attacks(3)

“Warning that the sender itself cannot be detected The idea of ​​a signal is known from the plant world, but it is quite rare in animals,” Yovel said. “We found that the’music battle’ between fireflies and bats may pave the way for further research and may also discover new defense mechanisms that animals have evolved against potential predators.”

The research was published in ” iScience” magazine.

Research says fireflies may use ultrasonic “music armor” to defend against bat attacks(4)