CAT 2017 Question Paper | Verbal Slot 2

CAT Previous Year Paper | CAT VARC Questions | Question 29

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The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.

Question 29 : North American walnut sphinx moth caterpillars (Amorpha juglandis) look like easy meals for birds, but they have a trick up their sleeves — they produce whistles that sound like bird alarm calls, scaring potential predators away. At first, scientists suspected birds were simply startled by the loud noise. But a new study suggests a more sophisticated mechanism: the caterpillar's whistle appears to mimic a bird alarm call, sending avian predators scrambling for cover. When pecked by a bird, the caterpillars whistle by compressing their bodies like an accordion and forcing air out through specialized holes in their sides. The whistles are impressively loud — they have been measured at over 80 dB from 5 cm away from the caterpillar — considering they are made by a two-inch long insect.

  1. North American walnut sphinx moth caterpillars will whistle periodically to ward off predator birds - they have a specialized vocal tract that helps them whistle.
  2. North American walnut sphinx moth caterpillars can whistle very loudly; the loudness of their whistles is shocking as they are very small insects.
  3. The North American walnut sphinx moth caterpillars, in a case of acoustic deception, produce whistles that mimic bird alarm calls to defend themselves
  4. North American. walnut sphinx moth caterpillars, in. a case of deception and camouflage, produce whistles that mimic bird alarm calls to defend themselves.

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Explanatory Answer

The paragraph explains how North American walnut sphinx moth caterpillars scare off bird predators: the caterpillar's whistle appears to mimic a bird alarm call, sending avian predators scrambling for cover.

Option 1 talks of a ‘specialized vocal tract’ which is not mentioned in the paragraph. Option 2 is incorrect as explained in the paragraph; it is not the loudness of the noise but the fact that it mimics a bird alarm call that frightens away the birds. Option 4 mentions ‘camouflage’, which is not discussed in the paragraph.


Choice C is the correct answer.

 

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