Bug Blog

The Luna Moth’s Interesting Tail

Luna moths are beautiful creatures. They are light green with long wings and they are around the size of a playing card. Biologist Jesse Barber is especially attracted to their majestic looking tail, which is actually a kind of scrambling device that alters the direction of the moth’s predators.

Bats use echolocation rather than sight from their eyes in order to navigate the environment and track predators. This is a well-known fact. However, much less well known is the ability of the luna moth’s tail to trick the bat into flying off track when the bat is in pursuit of the moth. Think of it as a kind of magic wand that they can wave around and it magically makes them invisible. It’s almost like an invisibility cloak like you read about in Harry Potter.

Moths and bats have been going to war for sixty million years. This newly discovered natural moth technology is an important adaptation when it comes to avoiding death by bat. This gives the moths a much needed advantage. Wouldn’t you like to have your own invisibility cloak?

What other purposes could the luna moth’s tail serve?