What Sound Does Bats Make – Photographs of a selection of the 12 bat species included in this study. Despite the morphological differences between the species, there are two levels of hearing sensitivity related to the frequency range of their echolocation and social calls. Credit: Marco Tschapka et al.
A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B provides the most comprehensive comparative analysis of the ability to hear in the throat to date and reveals the evolutionary pressures acting on their ability. heart. Scientists from the Museum of Natural History in Berlin have studied the bat’s hearing in the high and low frequency ranges used for echolocation and social communication and have shown that the hearing ability is excellent. on two levels. In addition, a phylogenetic comparison analysis showed that the sensitivity of hearing changed in response to the frequency changes of echolocation and related calls.
What Sound Does Bats Make
Bats live in a sound world. As auditory specialists, they rely on high-frequency echolocation calls to detect the world, but also detect calls and other environmental sounds at lower frequencies. Echolocation and social calls differ not only in frequency (pitch) but also in amplitude (loudness): echolocation calls are louder than social calls but the echolocation calls can be very quiet. phones. Although bats are a very interesting taxon for the study of auditory perception, there are few comparative studies.
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Scientists from the Museum of Natural History Berlin, Mirjam Knörnschild and Martina Nagy, together with researchers from the LMU Munich and the MPI for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen will study how the evolutionary influence in the sensory perception of bats. They assessed the auditory sensitivity and amplitude coding of 11 Neotropical species using a minimally invasive technique that did not injure the bats. Scientists have shown that the amplitude is better for high echolocation calls than for low social calls. “This difference may be related to the ability of bats to cover a wide range of amplitude differences in echolocation calls and their sounds,” explained Mirjam Knörnschild. In contrast to amplitude coding, the sensitivity of beats to be heard at high and low frequency ranges is better. “Surprisingly, in some ways, women hear more than men at low frequencies,” says Martina Nagy. “Enhanced sensitivity may be beneficial because young bats emit low frequency calls to request care from their mothers.”
The scientists combined their original data with published information on 27 new bat species in a comparative phylogenetic analysis and revealed specific increases in hearing sensitivity associated with higher frequencies. of echolocation phones and civil isolation phones. “This shows that hearing sensitivity changes in response to frequent changes in echolocation and related calls,” says Mirjam Knörnschild.
Experiences matter beyond bats. Other species, especially echolocating taxa such as whales, may exhibit a correlated shift between the peaks of the auditory sensitivity and the main call frequencies. The scientists hope that their results will provide an incentive for deeper research into the evolutionary pressures acting on the sensory perception of echolocation taxa in general.
More information: Ella Z. Lattenkamp et al. Hearing patterns and amplitude coding differ in bats by echolocation and social calls, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2020.2600
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Long-nosed bats can find small prey with echolocation by using an “acoustic mirror” effect, according to a new paper in Current Biology. If a bat approaches an insect on a leaf from a perfect angle, the leaves act like a mirror, reflecting directly from the stem. This research may have important implications for the study of predator-prey interactions and for the field of sensory ecology.
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Bats are known to search and navigate in the dark by emitting ultrasonic pulses and using the echoes to determine the location, speed and distance of nearby objects. or prey (active echolocation). But bat species can use echolocation in different ways, including passive echolocation strategies. For example, the black bat may use strong echolocation for navigation but a more rigid approach when hunting. It has two ears (inner and outer), which are better at picking up sounds made by insects. But what about insects that don’t make noise, like the dragonfly?
Author Inge Geipel, a postdoc with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), first became interested in the problem while working on her PhD at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, Germany. Her thesis advisor, Elizabeth Kalko, found the wings of dragonflies in leaf-nosed bats—which is amazing, because dragonflies are diurnal, meaning they don’t fly. at night, living among plants. They don’t have ears, so they can’t hear bats hunting, and they don’t make sounds to communicate. Most bat scientists believe that dragonflies are too small for bats to detect via echolocation.
“Weak sounds from small objects, such as insects, are masked by strong background sounds,” Geipel said. So how did bats get their wings? Because they have, as Geipel’s early experiments with bats in a loft show. He found that trolling bats use an acoustic mirror effect – a way to reflect and analyze sound waves – to find large bodies of water, and suggested that leaf-nosed bats may use a similar mechanism. , only in a small part (individual page) ).
Increases / Cleans insects from leaves. By approaching a leaf at an oblique angle, it can use its echolocation system to detect insects in the dark.
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To find out, he built a “robo-bat” biosensor: the only speaker that reproduces the five ultrasonic frequencies of bat calls, with an attached microphone that mimics the the bat’s ears and recorded the sounds. He moved the robo-bat around a synthetic sheet, without the dragon, and then he measured sounds from about 500 different positions. From this, he was able to calculate the best angle of approach to the loud noise – the best way to find a sleeping butterfly on a leaf.
This is better than 30 degrees, and best between 42 and 78 degrees. A bat cannot come to a leaf from a small angle to see the dragonflies, because the sounds of the leaves are too strong to cover those coming from the insect.
– Imagine that you have a torch, like a torch, and you are standing in front of the mirror – said Geifel. “If you shine it straight through the glass, you’ll blind yourself. But if you shine the light from an oblique angle, you can shine the light in a different direction. That’s what the bat.”
Next, Geipel needed to try real bats in the field, so he went to STRI’s Barro Colorado Island research station in Panama, which has a giant roost in the heart of the jungle. He has to catch the bats himself, near their roosts, because it can be difficult in the air. He puts the bats in a small, custom-made fly cage inside STRI’s main enclosure. After giving the bats a night to acclimate, he began placing fresh dead insects on artificial leaves in the aviary—and yes, he had to catch them too. .
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Geipel used high-resolution cameras to capture the bats’ flight paths and used the images to reconstruct their positions as they approached their prey. It’s a tiring job. Bats eat a lot of insects, considering that bats only weigh six pounds (less than an ounce), but they prefer to eat one and then take a short nap before looking for something to eat. they eat.
“My usual routine is sitting in the loft, watching the sleeping bats, waiting
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