Moths Court Quitely... PNAS

Mike Quinn Mike.Quinn at
Wed Aug 20 15:44:38 EDT 2008

FYI, Mike

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 

Moths produce extremely quiet ultrasonic courtship songs by rubbing specialized scales

1.	Ryo Nakano*, 
2.	Niels Skals†, 
3.	Takuma Takanashi‡,§, 
4.	Annemarie Surlykke†, 
5.	Takuji Koike¶, 
6.	Keisuke Yoshida¶, 
7.	Hirotaka Maruyama‖, 
8.	Sadahiro Tatsuki*, and 
9.	Yukio Ishikawa* 

1.		*Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan; 
2.		†Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark; 
3.		‡Department of Forest Entomology, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan; 
4.		¶Department of Mechanical Engineering and Intelligent Systems, University of Electro-Communications, Chofu, Tokyo 182-8585, Japan; and 
5.		‖Materials Science and Advanced Devices, Science and Technical Research Laboratories, Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-8510, Japan 

1.	Edited by John G. Hildebrand, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, and approved May 27, 2008 (received for review April 26, 2008) 


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. 

*	acoustic communication 
*	hearing 
*	playback experiment 
*	receiver bias 
*	sound-producing organ 


*	§To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: takanasi{at} 
*	Author contributions: R.N., N.S., T.T., A.S., and Y.I. designed research; R.N., N.S., T.T., A.S., K.Y., and H.M. performed research; T.K. and H.M. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; R.N., T.T., and T.K. analyzed data; and R.N., N.S., T.T., A.S., S.T., and Y.I. wrote the paper. 

*	This article contains supporting information online at 

*	© 2008 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA 

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1.	Articles by Nakano, R. <>  
2.	Articles by Ishikawa, Y. <>  


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