Real-life invisibility cloaks are worn by moths: How the insects use their furry coats to make them undetectable to bats
Scientists have discovered moths’ furry coats make them almost invisible to batsFound 85 per cent of sound signals used by bats to find prey absorbed by hairsReduced distance a bat would be able to detect a moth by almost 25 per centHairs are actually scales ‘that resemble hairs’, Bristol University led study found
You might think invisibility cloaks are the stuff of science fiction and Harry Potter – but it seems the insect kingdom is actually on to something.
Scientists have found that moths can make themselves almost invisible to bats thanks to their furry coats.
Tests found that 85 per cent of the sound signals – ultra-high pitched squeaks – bats use to locate their prey were absorbed by the moths’ hairs.
This reduced the distance a bat would be able to detect a moth by almost 25 per cent, increasing its survival chances.
Scientists found that 85 per cent of the sound signals – ultra-high pitched squeaks – bats use to locate their prey were absorbed by the moths’ hairs (pictured is an Antherina suraka moth)
Moth hairs are actually scales ‘that resemble hairs’ and look structurally similar to the fibres used in soundproofing technology, the research led by Bristol University said.
Scientists are now looking at ways to use the findings in sound insulating technology. The results are in Royal Society Interface journal.
Dr Thomas Neil, Research Associate from Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences and lead author, said: ‘We were amazed to see that these extraordinary insects were able to achieve the same levels of sound absorption as commercially available technical sound absorbers, whilst at the same time being much thinner and lighter.