Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 343–347

The sensory basis of prey location by the California leaf-nosed bat Macrotus californicus (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae)


  • Gary P. Bell
    • Department of BiologyCarleton University

DOI: 10.1007/BF00295547

Cite this article as:
Bell, G.P. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1985) 16: 343. doi:10.1007/BF00295547


Macrotus californicus, an insectivorous bat, captures prey on the ground, and shows great sensory flexibility in hunting for prey: it uses high frequency, low intensity, frequency modulated echolocation to locate prey in total darkness, however data from this study suggest that it uses vision preferentially, and switches off its echolocation when adequate illumination is available. When souncs of prey are available it exploits these also. It uses echolocation only 50% of the time at 4.2x10-2 mL, comparable to ground luminance on a brightly moonlit night, and employs vision even at 10-3 mL.

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© Springer-Verlag 1985