Moth Mimicry: Using Ultrasound to Avoid Bats
This video follows scientists as they uncover the ways in which moth species in Gorongosa National Park use ultrasound to avoid being eaten by bats.
Biologist Jesse Barber of Boise State University was joined by two graduate students in Gorongosa National Park to study bat-moth, predator-prey interactions. They designed several experiments to determine the strategies used by Gorongosa moths to avoid being eaten by bats. Some moths use ultrasound to either jam bats’ sonars or to signal to bats that they taste bad. Barber explains that some of these species are Batesian mimics, because they don’t truly taste bad but mimic the ultrasound of other moths that do, tricking the bats into avoiding them as food.
The accompanying “Student Worksheet” incorporates concepts and information from the video.
An audio descriptive version of the film is available via our media player.
Student Learning Targets
Learn about research practices.
Develop scientific explanations and justify claims using evidence.
Analyze and interpret data from a controlled scientific experiment.
Africa, Gorongosa, scientific methodology, scientific process, sonar
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS4-3, HS-LS4-4; HS-LS4.C; SEP4, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
ENE-3.D, ENE-4.B, IST-5.A; SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5, SP6
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 2.1, 9.10
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
Math.A-REI.3, Math.N-Q.1; MP2, MP3
Vision and Change (2009)
CC1; DP1, DP2