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Moths produce extremely quiet ultrasonic courtship songs by rubbing specialized scales.


ABSTRACT: Insects have evolved a marked diversity of mechanisms to produce loud conspicuous sounds for efficient communication. However, the risk of eavesdropping by competitors and predators is high. Here, we describe a mechanism for producing extremely low-intensity ultrasonic songs (46 dB sound pressure level at 1 cm) adapted for private sexual communication in the Asian corn borer moth, Ostrinia furnacalis. During courtship, the male rubs specialized scales on the wing against those on the thorax to produce the songs, with the wing membrane underlying the scales possibly acting as a sound resonator. The male's song suppresses the escape behavior of the female, thereby increasing his mating success. Our discovery of extremely low-intensity ultrasonic communication may point to a whole undiscovered world of private communication, using "quiet" ultrasound.

SUBMITTER: Nakano R 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2575327 | BioStudies | 2008-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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