Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 161, Issue 1, pp 59–66

The role of prey-generated sounds, vision, and echolocation in prey localization by the African batCardioderma cor (Megadermatidae)

  • Michael J. Ryan
  • Merlin D. Tuttle


Cardioderma cor responded with head movements and flight toward speakers broadcasting calls of frogs and crickets which contained only sonic frequencies. Unlike the frog-eating bat,Trachops cirrhosus, they did not make contact with the speakers. Prey movements that generated sonic and ultrasonic sounds were both sufficient and necessary for the bats to localize and capture prey. Prey dragged across a glass sheet with a thin layer of water did not generate sounds and bats did not attempt to capture these prey, even with the availability of visual and echolocation cues. There was no evidence for the use of visual cues while hunting; bats did not localize prey more readily in light than darkness. Prey were presented such that their movements initially generated sounds, but then the prey moved onto the water layer of the glass sheet and sounds were eliminated. The bats emitted echolocation signals while hunting in this situation; however, the information from these signals was not utilized. The bats landed at the site that prey last made sound. These results demonstrate the importance of passive hearing for prey localization in this bat, and further suggest that when preygenerated sounds and echolocation signals offer conflicting information the bat's behavior is guided by the former.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Ryan
    • 1
  • Merlin D. Tuttle
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of TexasAustinUSA
  2. 2.Brackenridge Field LaboratoryUniversity of TexasAustinUSA

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