Echolocating bats emit biosonar calls and use echoes arising from call reflections, for orientation. They often pattern their calls into groups which increases the rate of sensory feedback. Insectivorous bats emit call groups at a higher rate when orienting in cluttered compared to uncluttered environments. Frugivorous bats increase the rate of call group emission when they echolocate in noisy environments. In frugivorous bats, it remains unclear if call group emission represents an exclusive adaptation to avoid acoustic interference by signals of conspecifics or if it represents an adaptation that allows to orient under demanding environmental conditions. Here, we compared the emission pattern of the frugivorous bat Carolliaperspicillata when the bats were flying in narrow versus wide or cluttered versus non-cluttered corridors. The bats emitted larger call groups and they increased the call rate within call groups when navigating in narrow or cluttered environments. These adaptations resemble the ones shown when the bats navigate in noisy environments. Thus, call group emission represents an adaptive behavior when the bats orient in complex environments.
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The authors declare no competing financial interests.
The experiments comply with all current German laws on animal experimentation and they are in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. All experimental protocols were approved by the Regierungspräsidium Darmstadt (experimental permit # FU-1126).
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Beetz, M.J., Kössl, M. & Hechavarría, J.C. Adaptations in the call emission pattern of frugivorous bats when orienting under challenging conditions. J Comp Physiol A 205, 457–467 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00359-019-01337-1
- Orientation behavior
- Active sensing
- Sensory acquisition