How Long Wings Help Huge Moths Evade Bat Attacks

Scientists have determined that the longer a moth’s hind wings and tails are, the better chances the insects have of surviving a bat attack.

When an African moon moth unfurls its great, green wings, it becomes nearly as large as a ping-pong paddle. The creatures are gorgeous to behold, and with a juicy, nutrient-dense body sandwiched between gigantic wings, they’re a prized treat for a hungry bat.

What’s more, the moths’ hind wings sport a pair of long, dangly tails that look like they’d be perfect for snatching.

Yet even when bats use their superpower-like echolocation to zero in on the moths, the flying mammals miss more often than not. What gives?

According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, the moon moths’ tails aren’t a liability—they’re an asset for deflecting the sound waves bats use to echolocate, or find prey. (See photos

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