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Moths Vibrate Genitals to Avoid Bats

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It’s no award-winning dance move, but a new study shows that hawkmoths in Borneo (map) jiggle their junk to produce ultrasound. That jams Malaysian bats’ built-in sonar, rendering the hawkmoths temporarily “invisible

Found worldwide, hawkmoths get their name from their large sizes—some species have wingspans greater than 4 inches (10 centimeters)—and superb flying abilities. The insects fly up to 12 miles (19 kilometers) per hour and can quickly dart from side to side to avoid predators, especially bats.

Over the past 65 million years, bats and moths have squared off in an evolutionary arms race. For the bats’ part, they have built-in sonar that allows them to emit high-pitched cries, then listen as the sound waves bounce off any nearby insects. (Also see “‘Whispering’ Bat Evolved to Trick Prey.”)

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