Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 819–834 | Cite as

Potential Use of Chemical Cues for Colony-Mate Recognition in the Big Brown Bat, Eptesicus fuscus

  • Johanna Bloss
  • Terry E. Acree
  • Janelle M. Bloss
  • Wendy R. Hood
  • Thomas H. KunzEmail author


Bats should benefit from recognition of their roost-mates when colonies form stable social units that persist over time. We used Y-maze experiments and gas chromatography–olfactometry (GC-O) to evaluate whether female big brown bats Eptesicus fuscus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) use chemical cues to distinguish among conspecifics. In dual-choice Y-maze experiments, females chose the scent of another female from their own roost over a conspecific female from a different roost in a majority of trials. Analysis of total body odors using GC-O suggests that individuals from a given colony may share a more common odor signature with roost-mates than with non-roost-mate conspecifics. Using four principle components derived from 15 odor variables, discriminant function analysis correctly assigned most individuals to the correct colony.

Big brown bat Chiroptera colony recognition Eptesicus fuscus female philopatry gas chromatography–olfactometry olfaction 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Bloss
    • 1
  • Terry E. Acree
    • 2
  • Janelle M. Bloss
    • 3
  • Wendy R. Hood
    • 1
  • Thomas H. Kunz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyBoston UniversityBoston
  2. 2.Department of Food Science and TechnologyCornell University—GenevaGeneva
  3. 3.Smith CollegeNorthampton

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