Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bats are keeping an ear out for kin

Date:
June 8, 2010
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Bats can distinguish between the calls of their own and different species with their echolocation calls, report scientists.

Cave with Mehely's Horseshoe Bats (Rhinolophus mehelyi), Mediterranean Horseshoe Bats (R. euryale) and other species.
Credit: Stefan Greif

Bats can distinguish between the calls of their own and different species with their echolocation calls, report scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen. This applies even for species closely related and ecologically similar with overlap of call frequency bands.

As opposed to bird song or the human voice, echolocation calls are primarily used for spatial orientation and search for food and not for communication. Bat species with similar ecological requirements use similar echolocation calls. However, it was recently shown that bats are able to distinguish conspecifics by their individual calls, somewhat similar to how humans can recognize others by voice.

Now, Maike Schuchmann and Björn Siemers of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen have been able to prove that echolocation calls carry more information than assumed. As humans are able to recognize different languages, bats can not only distinguish their own calls from calls of other species, but also differentiate between different species, even if there is an overlap in the call frequency bands.The scientists set up behavioural experiments with two horseshoe bat species in Bulgaria. They played echolocation calls of the bats' own species or calls of three different species through ultrasonic loudspeakers and analysed the animals' reaction. Both bat species hardly made a mistake in their distinction, neither between own and foreign calls nor foreign and foreign calls. "Discrimination was however easier for the bats when the call frequency bands were clearly separated from their own," says Maike Schuchmann, first author of the study.

This result is exciting but immediately opens up new questions: "Follow-up experiments are necessary to test whether the bats indeed use their ability for acoustic species discrimination in the wild," says Björn Siemers. It could be an advantage for the bats to get out of the way of competitively superior species in their hunting grounds. On the other hand, following a heterospecific with the same roosting requirements may be beneficial for finding new shelters. Research in that direction can deepen our understanding of the sensory and cognitive basis of species interactions on a community level.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maike Schuchmann, Björn M. Siemers. Behavioral Evidence for Community-Wide Species Discrimination from Echolocation Calls in Bats. The American Naturalist, 2010; 100511134658006 DOI: 10.1086/652993

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Bats are keeping an ear out for kin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100519112717.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2010, June 8). Bats are keeping an ear out for kin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100519112717.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "Bats are keeping an ear out for kin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100519112717.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) — To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

AP (Apr. 14, 2014) — Florida wildlife officials say they have killed five bears following an attack on a woman in a suburban subdivision in central Florida. Forty-five year-old Terri Frana was attacked by a large bear in her driveway Saturday. (April 14) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

AFP (Apr. 13, 2014) — Uruguay opened its first Cannabis Library in Montevideo on Saturday, where people can come and read books on cannabis or take classes on how to grow the plant or even how to cook with it. Duration: 01:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins