These butterflies boost their hearing with an unusual strategy

first_img Think of it as a biological antenna. Researchers have discovered a species of butterfly that enlarges its wing veins to pick up sounds it wouldn’t otherwise hear—a strategy that may be critical to its survival.Many butterflies possess tiny ears, often in the form of membrane-covered cavities at the base of their forewings. But scientists didn’t know the insects could boost their hearing with other parts of their bodies.To make the new discovery, researchers collected 30 common wood nymphs (Cercyonis pegala)—which have unusually swollen forewing veins—and played them low-frequency sounds (relative to the spectrum of insect hearing), like a high-C note on a piano. The team then examined how the insects’ ear membranes vibrated in response, first with the veins intact and then again after making small incisions in them. Yack Lab By Frankie SchembriOct. 16, 2018 , 7:01 PM When the forewing vein was damaged, the wood nymphs’ ears were less sensitive overall, particularly to low frequencies between 750 and 5000 hertz, the team reports today in Biology Letters. The audio boost may help wood nymphs pick up a broader range of frequencies in their forest environment, which could be critical for detecting potential predators.Although the scientists aren’t yet sure how the vein helps tune the wood nymphs’ ears, they suspect the extra air contained in the vessel could pump up the pocket beneath the ear’s membrane and allow it to distinguish between smaller changes in pitch. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country These butterflies boost their hearing with an unusual strategy Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img

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