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 September 1, 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 September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) — An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
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