The Atlantic

The Butterflies That Hear With Their Wings

A petite group called the satyrines uses swollen veins to channel sound into tiny ears.
Source: Steven R Smith / Shutterstock

When Jayne Yack speaks, she knows that her butterflies can hear her. They’re listening with their wings.

Yack, a professor at Carleton University, studies a group of butterflies called nymphalids, which include well-known species like monarchs, morphos, emperors, and admirals. Many members of this group have ears at the base of their wings. If one lifted its top pair of wings in the air, “the ear would be in what you think of as the armpit,” Yack says.

The ears consist of membranes

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