Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 137–146

Social behavior of the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus

II. Vocal communication
  • Robert M. R. Barclay
  • M. Brock Fenton
  • Donald W. Thomas
Article

Summary

  1. 1.

    As part of an overall study of the social behavior of the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus, we compiled the vocal repertoire of this gregarious species in its natural habitat. Ten vocalizations were identified and associated with certain behavioral contexts.

     
  2. 2.

    Echolocation pulses, although primarily used for or entation, are also available as interindividual communication signals and modified forms are used in several situations such as during near-collisions in flight and the first flights of newly volant young.

     
  3. 3.

    Nonecholocation calls are used in three main contexts. Agonistic vocalizations appear to take the place of physical aggression and may be used to protect an individual's position within a roost. Two vocalizations emitted in maternal-infant situations appear to contain vocal signatures which are important for individual recognition. During mating, a distinct copulation call given by males likely conveys a male's sexual motivation to a female in the absence of precopulatory displays.

     
  4. 4.

    The size of the vocal repertoire is comparable to those of some solitary mammals. Behavioral observations indicate that despite the gregarious nature of the species, a simple social system exists and the small repertoire is therefore not surprising.

     

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barclay, R.M.R., Thomas, D.W.: Copulation call of the bat Myotis lucifugus: A discrete situation-specific communication signal. J. Mammal. 60, 632–634 (1979)Google Scholar
  2. Bradbury, J.W.: Social organization and communication In: Biology of bats, Vol. 3. Wimsatt, W.A. (ed.), pp. 2–72. New York: Academic 1977Google Scholar
  3. Bradbury, J.W., Emmons, L.H.: Social organization of some Trinidad bats. I. Emballonuridae. Z. Tierpsychol. 36, 137–183 (1974)Google Scholar
  4. Bradbury, J.W., Vehrencamp, S.: Social organization and foraging in emballonurid bats. I. Field studies. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 1, 337–382 (1976)Google Scholar
  5. Brown, P.: Vocal communication in the pallid bat, Antrozous pallidus. Z. Tierpsychol. 41, 34–54 (1976)Google Scholar
  6. Dalland, J.I.: Hearing sensitivity in bats. Science 150, 1185–1186 (1965)Google Scholar
  7. Emmons, L.H.: Sound communication among African rainforest squirrels. Z. Tierpsychol. 47, 1–49 (1978)Google Scholar
  8. Ewer, R.F.: The ethology of mammals. London: Elek Science 1968Google Scholar
  9. Fenton, M.B.: Population studies of Myotis lucifugus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in Ontario. R. Ont. Mus. Life Sci. Contrib. 77, 1–34 (1970)Google Scholar
  10. Fenton, M.B.: Variation in the social calls of little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). Can. J. Zool. 55, 1151–1157 (1977)Google Scholar
  11. Fourie, P.B.: Acoustic communication in the rock hyrax, Procavia capensis. Z. Tierpsychol. 44, 194–219 (1977)Google Scholar
  12. Gould, E.: Studies of maternal-infant communication and development of vocalizations in the bats Myotis and Eptesicus. Commun. Behav Biol. 5, 263–313 (1971)Google Scholar
  13. Gould, E.: Neonatal vocalizations in bats of eight genera. J. Mammal. 56, 15–29 (1975)Google Scholar
  14. Gould, E.: Echolocation and communication. In: Biology of bats of the New World family Phyllostomatidae. Part II. Spec. Publ. Mus. Tex. Tech. Univ. 13, 247–279 (1977)Google Scholar
  15. Gould, E., Woolf, N.K., Turner, C.: Double-note communication in bats: Occurrence in three families. J. Mammal. 54, 998–1001 (1973)Google Scholar
  16. Griffin, D.R.: Listening in the dark. New Haven: Yale University 1958Google Scholar
  17. Kolb, V.A.: Wie erkennen sich Mutter und Junges des Mausohrs, Myotis myotis, bei der Rückkehr vom Jagdflug wieder?. Z. Tierpsychol. 44, 423–431 (1977)Google Scholar
  18. Kunz, T.H.: Population studies of the cave bat (Myotis velifer): Reproduction, growth and development. Occas. Pap. Mus. Nat. Hist. Kans. 15, 1–43 (1973)Google Scholar
  19. Martin, K., Fenton, M.B.: A possible defensive function for the calls of bats (Myotis lucifugus) arousing from torpor. Can. J. Zool. 56, 1430–1432 (1978)Google Scholar
  20. Möhres, F.P.: Communicative characters of sonar signals in bats. In: Animal sonar systems Biology and bionics, Vol. 2. Busnel, R.G. (ed.), pp. 939–945. Jouy-en Josas: Laboratoire de Physiologie Acoustic 1966Google Scholar
  21. Morton, E.S.: On the occurrence and significance of motivation-structural rules in some bird and mammal sounds. Am. Nat. 111, 855–869 (1977)Google Scholar
  22. Nelson, J.E.: Vocal communication in Australian Pteropodidae (Megachiroptera). Z. Tierpsychol. 21, 856–870 (1964)Google Scholar
  23. Schmidt, U.: Social calls of juvenile vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) and their mothers. Bonn. Zool. Beitr. 23, 310–316 (1972)Google Scholar
  24. Schott, D.: Quantitative analysis of the vocal repertoire of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus). Z. Tierpsychol. 38, 225–250 (1975)Google Scholar
  25. Simmons, J.A., Fenton, M.B., Ferguson, W.R., Jutting, M., Palin, J.: Apparatus for research on animal ultrasonic signals. R. Ont. Mus. Life Sci. Misc. Publ. (in press) (1979)Google Scholar
  26. Suthers, R.A.: Acoustic orientation of fish-catching bats. J. Exp. Zool. 158, 319–348 (1965)Google Scholar
  27. Suthers, R.A., Fattu, J.M.: Mechanisms of sound production by echolocating bats. Am. Zool. 13, 1215–1226 (1973)Google Scholar
  28. Thomas, D.W.: Aspects of the social and mating behaviour of the bat Myotis lucifugus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) at hibernacula in Ontario. Unpubl. M.Sc. thesis, Carleton University (1978)Google Scholar
  29. Thomas, D.W., Fenton, M.B., Barclay, R.M.R.: Social behavior of the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus. I. Mating behavior. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 6, 129–136 (1979)Google Scholar
  30. Trune, D.R., Slobodchikoff, C.N.: Social effects of roosting on the metabolism of the pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus). J. Mammal. 57, 656–663 (1976)Google Scholar
  31. Turner D., Shaughnessy, A., Gould, E.: Individual recognition between mother and infant bats (Myotis). In: Animal orientation and navigation. Galler, S.R., Schmidt-Koenig, K., Jacobs, G.J., Belleville, R.E. (eds.), pp. 365–371. NASA SP-262 1972Google Scholar
  32. Vaughan, T.A.: Nocturnal behavior of the African false vampire bat (Cardioderma cor). J. Mammal. 57, 227–248 (1976)Google Scholar
  33. Wilson, E.O.: Sociobiology: The new synthesis. Cambridge: Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press 1975Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. R. Barclay
    • 1
  • M. Brock Fenton
    • 1
  • Donald W. Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations