“Moths: Amazing Insects that Use Ultrasound, Scales and Tails to Combat Hunting Bats at Night” by Akito Y. Kawahara originally aired August 17, 2022. View the recording above.
Moths are often an afterthought, but with more than 150,000 known species worldwide, they are essential to the natural world. In this webinar, Akito Kawahara discusses how moths use ultrasound, scales and tails to combat hunting bats at night. He shows high-speed videos of moths and bats in combat at night, along with many photos from fieldwork in Africa, Asia and the Amazon. A portion of the talk is also devoted to the amazing local moth fauna in Florida.
Akito Kawahara is professor and curator at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History. He earned a bachelor’s degree in entomology from Cornell University, and a master’s degree and PhD in entomology from the University of Maryland. After a one-year post-doc at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, he began as assistant professor and curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History in 2011. He received tenure at UF in 2017, and was an associate curator for four years before becoming full curator this summer. He has received numerous awards for his research, and has been a principal and co-principal investigator on 13 major grants, totaling >$8 million in research funds. He has authored more than 160 peer-review publications, including notable papers in journals such as Science and PNAS, and has received many national and international awards. Among his largest contributions are papers on the evolution of butterflies and moths, and research on ultrasound and hearing in moths and echolocation in bats. He has appeared in numerous films and television shows, including PBS American Spring Live (2019), Nature’s Sex, Lies and Butterflies (2018), David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies (2014), and Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (2009).