For three decades Yack has been studying hearing in a range of insects including caterpillars, bark beetles, moths, and butterflies. A bird on the prowl does not sing or call — instead it glides in as silently as possible to avoid alerting its prey. Butterflies and moths can hear many things we cannot, revealing a sensory world that we are slowly beginning to understand. That's because when butterflies perch, they fold their wings and expose their ears — which are present on the underside of their wings. Imagine the symphonies of sounds that we are missing out on, simply because our ears are tuned to a different wavelength. This limits us to a relatively small slice of the auditory spectrum. Butterflies, however, always fly in jerky, erratic patterns making them tricky to catch.
Jade. Age: 24.
This highlights the intricate forces that drive the evolution of predator prey relationships in these creatures.
Amaris. Age: 20.
The surprising way butterflies sense their enemies
The ones with the most sophisticated ears belong to the family Nymphalidae sometimes called brush-footed butterflies - a large family of about 6, species. At least, a flycatcher called the Eastern phoebe thinks so. Almost ten metres from her nest, Jayne Yack, from Carleton University in Canada, ties a cotton thread around the abdomen of a plump-bodied moth and tethers it to a tree in plain view of the flycatcher.