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What An Earful!: The Strange Evolution of Insect Ears

Tiny as they are, it may be why most of us wouldn't possibly even consider insects having distinct auditory structures, let alone being able to use them in a way similar to how we hear.

One might think insects are simply able to sense their surroundings through vibrations and other external stimuli, processing them and responding to them. However, this article on Knowable shows us the weird world of insect hearing and how they are able to process sounds.

There are some obvious surprises about these insect ears, one being their location:

Location is the most obvious difference between one insect’s ears and another’s: There are ears on antennae (mosquitoes and fruit flies), forelegs (crickets and katydids), wings (lacewings), abdomen (cicadas, grasshoppers and locusts) and on what passes for a “neck” (parasitic flies). Among moths and butterflies, ears crop up practically anywhere, even on mouthparts. The bladder grasshopper has an abundance of ears with six pairs along the sides of its abdomen. Praying mantises have a single, “cyclopean” ear in the middle of their chest.

(Image credit: Flickr user artour_a)


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