Big Ears Of The Insect World
The iconic New Zealand weta has ears similar to those of a whale, researchers at the University of Auckland have found. The ears of this 8cm-long Auckland tree weta are the white disks that can be seen on the two front legs. Biologist Dr Kate Lomas of the University of Auckland and colleagues report their findings in a recent issue of PLoS ONE. As part of her masters research, Lomas was trying to find out whether wetas could hear the sounds of the native New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat that walks and hunts on the ground. She found that wetas couldn’t hear the ultrasound noises made by the bats, but confirmed they had very sensitive hearing — “capable of picking up a whisper”.