The Greater Wax moth can hear high-pitched sound better than any known creature in the world. Yets its ears are very simple structure, each being about the size of a pinhead.
For years, the Greater Wax moth's hearing has been a subject of study. More recently, scientists at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, tested the moths hearing with a wide range or sounds. They measured the vibrations of the tympanal membranes and recorded the activity of their auditory nerves. The ear drum still responded when exposed to sounds at a frequency of 300 kilohertz. By comparison a bat echolocation has been recorded at up to 212 kilohertz, the hearing of dolphins peaks at 160kilohertz, and humans do not hear beyond 20 kilohertz.
Researchers would like to use the superior hearing capability of the Greater Wax moth as the basis for new technology. How? "To help make better, smaller, microphones," says Dr Jams Windmill of the University of Strathclyde. "These could be put in a wide range of devices such as mobile phones and hearing aids".