These Moths Have Ultrasonic, Radar-Jamming Genitals

July 5, 2013 | Andy Cush

Say you’re a hawk moth, quietly minding your own business, doing whatever it is hawk moths do, when you hear a sound. To your finely-tuned ear, it sounds like a bat, ready to swoop in and make an attack; you don’t have enough time to get away, and the flying predator is getting closer by the moment. What do you do?

You start rubbing on your man- or ladyparts, that’s what. And not just for the cold comfort of getting your rocks off one last time before death, either. Researchers from Boise State University found that several species of hawk moth–Cechenena lineosaTheretra boisduvalii, and Theretra nessus–could effectively jam a bat’s sonar by rubbing their genitals, which emits a super high-frequency sound and scrambles the bat’s echolocation.

Try it next time you’re at a bar and a homely stranger offers to buy you a drink.

(Photo: Hsu Hong Lin/Wikimedia Commons)