I Can Hear You!


Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus) – I have noticed when I have been out in the field this summer that some butterflies are directly reacting to the sound of my camera shutter and quickly taking flight, and so instantly I get a blur of wings on occasion. I thought it perhaps coincidence, but then asked myself this question: Can butterflies hear?

I discovered that one group of butterflies called the Satyrines, also called the ‘browns’, hear with their wings of all things. They have odd swollen veins on their wings, and ears at the base of them which consist of membranes that are stretched taut over oval holes, and that vibrate when incoming sounds hit them. Acoustic research shows they are tuned to low frequencies like the human voice, so if you do talk to the butterflies, you now they are listening to you πŸ™‚


Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus

Please double-click image for a closer look.


47 thoughts on “I Can Hear You!

  1. I do talk to butterflies from time to time, but it never occurred to me that they might be listening. The question is: are we listening to them? The photo’s gorgeous, and I learned something, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Next time I’m trying to get (photographically) intimate with a butterfly, I’ll try to remember to sing to it, rather than just talking. Stay tuned for my report–though it may take quite a while, as it’s mid-winter here, and I’m not going anywhere warm until spring.

    Liked by 1 person

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