A linguagem dos morcegos: função dupla da ecolocalização

terça-feira, setembro 21, 2010

The Language of Bats

ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2010) — Many species of bats hunt insects "on the wing" by making ultrasonic calls and using the echo to find prey while in flight. But do bats use echolocation calls to communicate with each other as well? New research in Panama shows that bats can recognize the calls of particular individuals, similar to how humans can recognize the voices of friends and family.

A research team lead by Silke Voigt-Heucke from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin recently showed that bats can identify members of their own species and even members of their own social group from echolocation calls. The researchers tested how lesser bulldog bats (Noctilio albiventris) respond to the playback of echolocation calls of familiar and unfamiliar bats of their own and other species. Bats responded to the echolocation calls with a complex repertoire of social behaviour, for example by stretching out their wings and exposing their smelly subaxillary glands in their armpits, which allows potent pheromones to be released.

Read more here/Leia mais aqui: Science Daily


Animal Behaviour
Volume 80, Issue 1, July 2010, Pages 59-67

A dual function of echolocation: bats use echolocation calls to identify familiar and unfamiliar individuals

Silke L. Voigt-Heuckea, b, c, , , Michael Taborskyd, 1 and Dina K.N. Dechmanna, e, f, 2

a Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Germany

b Department for Behavioural Biology, University of Vienna, Austria

c Department of Animal Behaviour, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

d Department of Behavioural Ecology, University of Bern, Switzerland

e Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany

f Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

Received 24 October 2009; 
revised 21 December 2009; 
accepted 29 March 2010. 
MS. number: 09-00701. 
Available online 21 May 2010. 

Bats use echolocation for orientation during foraging and navigation. However, it has been suggested that echolocation calls may also have a communicative function, for instance between roost members. In principle, this seems possible because echolocation calls are species specific and known to differ between the sexes, and between colonies and individuals for some species. We performed playback experiments with lesser bulldog bats, Noctilio albiventris, to which we presented calls of familiar/unfamiliar conspecifics, cohabitant/noncohabitant heterospecifics and ultrasonic white noise as a control. Bats reacted with a complex repertoire of social behaviours and the intensity of their response differed significantly between stimulus categories. Stronger reactions were shown towards echolocation calls of unfamiliar conspecifics than towards heterospecifics and white noise. To our knowledge, this is the first time that bats have been found to react to echolocation calls with a suite of social behaviours. Our results also provide the first experimental evidence for acoustical differentiation by bats between familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics, and of heterospecifics. Analysis of echolocation calls confirmed significant individual differences between echolocation calls. In addition, we found a nonsignificant trend towards group signatures in echolocation calls of N. albiventris. We suggest that echolocation calls used during orientation may also communicate species identity, group affiliation and individual identity. Our study highlights the communicative potential of sonar signals that have previously been categorized as cues in animal social systems.

Keywords: Chiroptera; communication; eavesdropping; lesser bulldog bat; Noctilio albiventris; recognition; social behaviour


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