Butterflies Have Ears on Their Wings

morpho butterfly with ears
  • Some butterflies ears are on their wings.
  • The fact that butterflies had ears remained a mystery to science until 1912, when the first such structures were ever identified.
  • Since then, researchers have analysed them on all sides, and have discovered that the organs, far from being similar in all butterfly species, were in fact extremely diverse and different.
  • The latest insect to reveal its ears was the blue morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides), a species of butterfly that carries its listening apparatus on its wings.
  • Scientists believe that it uses them in order to recognize the threats from incoming or nearby birds, LiveScience reports.
  • The tiny ears are perfectly capable of making out both high-pitch and low-pitch sounds, and it may be possible that the butterflies are actually able to identify various species of birds, if they know the noises that their wings make.
  • The blue morpho was the last in a series of butterflies that was studied for ears.
  • Not all species have them, but this one, which amazes people through its beautiful coloring, has its tympanal membrane located at the base of the wing.
  • The structure resembles a yolk at the center of a fried egg, the leader of the new research, University of Bristol expert Kathleen Lucas, says.