Foraging big brown bats use social calls to ward off competitors

Genni Wright has been studying social calls by flying big brown bats. She found that males produce distinct calls when foraging for food, and that they use these social calls to ward off competitors and claim aerial insects. Prey defense was one of the first functions of social calls suggested by field evidence in 1997 by Kate Barlow and Gareth Jones, but Genni’s study really demonstrates how the calls work by studying the vocal behavior of the bats in a flight room with arrays of synchronized high-speed stereo video and ultrasonic microphones.

The paper is here

Commentary here

Big brown bat catching a mealworm in the Moss Lab:

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