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WILDLIFE

It's all ears

How do insects hear? Loud and clear, with ears that can be in any part of their body—abdomen, wings, mouth and even tongue—adapted to escape predators and for social communication, courtship, and so on.

 

Coffee locust,   Aularches sp. Locusts have ears in their abdomen.
Coffee locust, Aularches sp. Locusts have ears in their abdomen.
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Hawk moth  (Deilephila cf elpenor). Hawk moths have ears in their  mouth parts.
Hawk moth (Deilephila cf elpenor). Hawk moths have ears in their mouth parts.
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Tiger moth.  It has ears at the junction of its thorax and abdomen.
Tiger moth. It has ears at the junction of its thorax and abdomen.
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Field cricket. It has an insect predator deadlier than the bat, the tachinid fly (Ormia ochraceae).
Field cricket. It has an insect predator deadlier than the bat, the tachinid fly (Ormia ochraceae).
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Courtesy: With permission from 'Knowable Magazine from Annual Reviews'.
Courtesy: With permission from 'Knowable Magazine from Annual Reviews'.
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Flower mantis,  Creobroter sp. The tympanal ears of mantids are unique. There is only one ear and as such described as auditory cyclops,  or cyclopean ear.
Flower mantis, Creobroter sp. The tympanal ears of mantids are unique. There is only one ear and as such described as auditory cyclops, or cyclopean ear.
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Two ears identified in Creobroter sp.
Two ears identified in Creobroter sp.Photo: H. Sankararaman
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Mosquito antennae are feathery. The receptors are located in their plumes.
Mosquito antennae are feathery. The receptors are located in their plumes.Photo: ISHA AGARWAL
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Praying mantis,  Gongylus gongyloides.
Praying mantis, Gongylus gongyloides.
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Katydid.  The location of the ears in katydid. Katydids and crickets have ears in the tibia of their first pair of legs (area marked). Their ears are simple and bear similarities with the human ear.
Katydid. The location of the ears in katydid. Katydids and crickets have ears in the tibia of their first pair of legs (area marked). Their ears are simple and bear similarities with the human ear.
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Katydids and crickets have ears in the tibia of their first pair of legs (area marked). Their ears are simple and bear similarities with the human ear.
Katydids and crickets have ears in the tibia of their first pair of legs (area marked). Their ears are simple and bear similarities with the human ear.
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Mole cricket.
Mole cricket.
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Blue bottle fly (Sarcophagidae). Flies belonging to Tachninidae and Sarcophagidae have ears.
Blue bottle fly (Sarcophagidae). Flies belonging to Tachninidae and Sarcophagidae have ears.
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Fruit fly. Fruit flies have antennal ears.
Fruit fly. Fruit flies have antennal ears.
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Scarab beetle (dynastinae, xylotrupes), female.
Scarab beetle (dynastinae, xylotrupes), female.
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Ear in scarab beetles  (Holotrichia sp.). The scarabs have their ears in their neck membrane (area marked), present on either side dorsally.
Ear in scarab beetles (Holotrichia sp.). The scarabs have their ears in their neck membrane (area marked), present on either side dorsally.
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Grasshopper.   Grasshoppers have ears in their abdominal segments.
Grasshopper. Grasshoppers have ears in their abdominal segments.
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Tiger beetle. Among tiger beetles, only those belonging to the genus Cicindela have ears.
Tiger beetle. Among tiger beetles, only those belonging to the genus Cicindela have ears.
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Water boatman.  The aquatic bug has ears in the mesothorax, just above the second pair of legs.
Water boatman. The aquatic bug has ears in the mesothorax, just above the second pair of legs.
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Hawk moth (Hippotion sp.). Ear location (area marked) in the head region and on proboscis. Two groups of hawk moths (distantly related), have ears on their labial palps, or proboscis, whose primary function is to sip nectar from flowers.
Hawk moth (Hippotion sp.). Ear location (area marked) in the head region and on proboscis. Two groups of hawk moths (distantly related), have ears on their labial palps, or proboscis, whose primary function is to sip nectar from flowers.
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Hawk moth (Hippotion). Two groups of hawk moths (distantly related), have ears on their labial palps, or proboscis (below), whose primary function is to sip nectar from flowers.
Hawk moth (Hippotion). Two groups of hawk moths (distantly related), have ears on their labial palps, or proboscis (below), whose primary function is to sip nectar from flowers.
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Owlet moth, Erebus ephesperi. The ears are laterally placed at the junction of the thorax and abdomen (areas marked in yellow colour).
Owlet moth, Erebus ephesperi. The ears are laterally placed at the junction of the thorax and abdomen (areas marked in yellow colour).
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Owl moth, Spirama cf helcina. Its ears are laterally placed at the junction of thorax and abdomen (area marked).
Owl moth, Spirama cf helcina. Its ears are laterally placed at the junction of thorax and abdomen (area marked).
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  Rusty forester,   Lethe bhairava species (Moore, 1857).
Rusty forester, Lethe bhairava species (Moore, 1857).
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Scarce red   forester (Lethe distans).
Scarce red forester (Lethe distans).
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Swallotail butterfly,  common banded peacock (Papilio crino). Butterflies belonging to Papilionidae (swallowtails) and Nymphalidae (brush-footed) have ears, referred to as alars, at the base of their hindwings.
Swallotail butterfly, common banded peacock (Papilio crino). Butterflies belonging to Papilionidae (swallowtails) and Nymphalidae (brush-footed) have ears, referred to as alars, at the base of their hindwings.
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Swallowtail butterfly,  yellow Helen (Papilio nephelus).
Swallowtail butterfly, yellow Helen (Papilio nephelus).
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Cambrid moth.  A number of moths belonging to the Crambidae, Geometridae, and Uraniidae families communicate through ultrasound clicks to find mates.
Cambrid moth. A number of moths belonging to the Crambidae, Geometridae, and Uraniidae families communicate through ultrasound clicks to find mates.
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Geometer moth.
Geometer moth.
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Thyridid moth.
Thyridid moth.
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Uraniid moth  (Epiplema himala).
Uraniid moth (Epiplema himala).
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Death’s head hawk moth,  Acherontia lachesis. It has a tuft of scales in its proboscis that vibrates in response to sound and helps in hearing.
Death’s head hawk moth, Acherontia lachesis. It has a tuft of scales in its proboscis that vibrates in response to sound and helps in hearing.
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Cuckoo  at midnight to feed on moths.
Cuckoo at midnight to feed on moths.
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Green lacewing (Ankylopteryx sp.).
Green lacewing (Ankylopteryx sp.).
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