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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Coffee! Bats more dangerous than mothballs?

A reader kindly shares this BBC story with me, "Bat and moth arms race revealed" (19 August 2010 ) by Jason Palmer.
In a strategy that may be a moth-hunting adaptation, some bats are known to use clicks that are at a frequency, or pitch, either above or below moths' hearing ranges.

High-pitched clicks have a larger range, while lower-pitched clicks are absorbed less by the atmosphere It remains unclear whether these pitch-shifting techniques adapted specifically to bypass moth defences or simply to cope in certain environments or situations.

Dr ter Hofstede and her colleagues were able to listen in on the Barbastella bat as it hunted, demonstrating that it had a completely different approach - its clicks were much reduced in volume, becoming even quieter as it closed in on prey.

"It seems like the majority of bats... call very loudly because they need as much information as possible from their surroundings," Dr ter Hofstede told BBC News.

"We're saying that this [low-volume tactic] is an adaptation to get around the moths' defence - it doesn't have any other useful purpose."

While the lower volume of clicks reduces the range over which the bats can successfully hunt, the team showed that the approach leads to Barbastella bats eating significantly higher numbers of the nutrient-rich moths than other, louder species.
The information race between bats and a favoured prey, moths, is described as an arms race (it is actually a race to interpret clicks. Neither party is armed, and certainly not the moth.)

As is characteristic of legacy mainstream media, the story must all be interpreted dogmatically through Darwinist theory. But what's missing from this very interesting account is how - exactly - the information race could evolve. "Natural selection" is increasingly evoked as a mere incantation, in the face of ever-growing awareness of complexity that are beyond its powers. That is, natural selection must be the cause because we "know" it is true.

By the way, there is a great closeup of a moth's face.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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