Antennae at Rest

Antenna

Left: Manduca at rest tucks antennae under wing
Right: Manduca in flight deploys antennae

Hawk moths have a curious behavior of tucking their antennae under the wings when at rest. Before flight is initiated, hawk moths bring the wings forward in front of the head in a location where they will not contact the beating wings. During flight, the antennae are forward where they can sense air pressure and detect odors. Why do they tuck the antenna under the wings at rest? A variety of proposed reasons include: to improve crypsis, to protect the antennae from the elements, or to decrease sensory input.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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