Predator-Prey Interaction in an Auditory World

Edited by John M. Ratcliffe

in Cognitive Ecology II

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226169354
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226169378 | DOI:
Predator-Prey Interaction in an Auditory World

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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This chapter reviews the historically well-studied system of bats and moths. This classic model system focuses on the auditory domain used by bats to detect insects and by many moths to attempt to avoid impending predation. While long-lived bats have been underestimated with respect to behavioral flexibility and learning, moths are short-lived vehicles for reproduction and are not expected to be terribly plastic in their sensoribehavioral responses. The decisions noctuid moths make when faced with female pheromones and batlike ultrasound, and the ability of arctiids to assess the relative risk of hunting bats based on call emission rate alone, imply that they too employ evolutionary strategies. Because bats produce echolocation calls to perceive their environment, and because some moths generate sounds to deter attacking bats, researchers eavesdropping on these signals have a unique opportunity to examine how the available auditory information translates into decisions made by both predator and prey.

Keywords: bat; moth; auditory; predation; reproduction; call emission rate; predator–prey interaction; auditory world

Chapter.  8563 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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