2024 Strickland Memorial Lecture

Strickland Memorial Lecture 2024
Celebrating 102 years of Entomology at the University of Alberta

Date: Friday, March 22, 2024
Time: 4:00 pm MST
Location: ESB 3-27
Host: Dr. Felix Sperling

The lecture will be given by:

Dr. Akito Kawahara
Director, Curator, and Professor
McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity
Florida Museum of Natural History
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Title: Evolution of anti-bat defenses in moths: Sonar jamming, acoustic deflection, and visual lures

Abstract: Adaptations to divert the attacks of visually guided predators have evolved repeatedly in animals. However, few studies have examined how invertebrates have evolved to use ultrasonic hearing against bats. Over the last 12 years, our research team has synergistically conducted behavioral experiments, phylogenetics, and functional genomics to examine how the more than 140,000 moth species evolved to escape bats – their primary predator at night. Over the last 60 million years, moths have evolved ultrasonically sensitive ears and ultrasound-producing organs to combat bat attack. Some moths to have gone a step further and gained the ability to jam bat sonar using tymbals on their thorax or by stridulating their genitalia, allowing them to inhabit new environments. Others generate acoustic diversion with spinning tails to deflect echolocating bat attack. This presentation will include high-speed infrared videography of moths and bats to elucidate the function and evolution of anti-bat strategies. The presentation will also include a discussion on lab research on the impact of human-driven light pollution on moths and bats.