Spix's disc-winged bat Thyroptera tricolor has suction cups (yes, suction cups) on its thumbs, and it uses these to cling to the smooth surface of young, furled Heliconia leaves. I’ve wanted to see a disc-winged bat since I was about ten years old, and I finally got to see them this week while visiting Gloriana … Continue reading Field notes on weekend trip to Costa Rica (with disc-winged bats!)
Category: Other topics
“Prepared learning” in bats
I had a brief discussion with someone at the International Behavioral Ecology meetings about evidence in bats for prepared learning--the phenomenon that animals learn some associations faster than others. More importantly, the notion here is that animals learn things faster when those lessons would be most common and necessary in the environments in which they evolved. … Continue reading “Prepared learning” in bats
An essay about caves and the origins of echolocation
Caves and the origins of echolocation Imagine that you are in a cave, a very familiar cave, but with no light. Do you think you could collect information about your location by shouting or clapping and listening to the echoes? Would a large chamber sound different than a tight passage? Sound ridiculous? Try this experiment. … Continue reading An essay about caves and the origins of echolocation
Names of farmers and ranchers in Panama
I need names and addresses of farmers and ranchers in Panama that have seen vampire bat bites on their animals! If you or anyone you know has information, please email me or call me at 68293025 (Panama). The urgency is that I need a this list as soon as possible to meet a permit deadline. … Continue reading Names of farmers and ranchers in Panama
How bats respond to distress calls: mobbing? Or predator inspection?
New paper came out on responses of a tropical free-tailed bat to distress calls. The title is Distress Calls of a Fast-Flying Bat (Molossus molossus) Provoke Inspection Flights but Not Cooperative Mobbing. Here's the story behind the paper. A year ago, I took a great field course on animal communication sponsored by a collaboration between German … Continue reading How bats respond to distress calls: mobbing? Or predator inspection?
Crèches in bats and the ‘huddler’s dilemma’
This photo taken by Jerry Wilkinson shows a tight cluster of bat pups in Africa (Rhinolophus darlingi). Several species of bats leave their pups behind in tight clusters like this called crèches. The smaller image shows one adult female greater spear-nosed bat (Phyllostomus hastatus) left behind with several pups unrelated to her. Both these images … Continue reading Crèches in bats and the ‘huddler’s dilemma’
Acoustic-GPS pilot tests with frog-eating bats
I just arrived in Panama and I'm very excited to be here. I recently joined a collaboration between Rachel Page's lab in Gamboa, Panama and Yossi Yovel's lab in Tel Aviv Israel. Rachel studies the fringe-lipped or frog-eating bat, Trachops cirrhosus, a bat that eavesdrops on the mating signals of its prey, frogs and katydids. … Continue reading Acoustic-GPS pilot tests with frog-eating bats
The best popular science books? My picks.
One of the most frequently read posts on this website was my review of E.O. Wilson's ambitious but flawed book Social Conquest of the Earth. But there are many more popular science books that I really love! So that's what I"m writing about here. Most popular science books have clear and enjoyable writing that explains some field or … Continue reading The best popular science books? My picks.
Studying bat pollination in Thailand
My friend Alyssa Stewart studies bat pollination in Thailand. I visited her this December to help* her with one of her dissertation chapters and to do a small study of our own. Alyssa is studying just how good the flower-visiting bats are as pollinators in Thailand. The most common flower-visiting bats there are: Eonycteris spelaea … Continue reading Studying bat pollination in Thailand
Recent and relevant papers– July 23, 2014
Niche-specific cognitive strategies: object memory interferes with spatial memory in the predatory bat, Myotis nattereri (Journal of Experimental Biology)-- Fruit and flower bats tend to use spatial memory over shape because those foods don't move. But insect-eating bats tend to do the opposite, perhaps because insects have distinct shapes and don't stay still. Maternal lineages best explain … Continue reading Recent and relevant papers– July 23, 2014