TITLE

Metabolic costs of bat echolocation in a non-foraging context support a role in communication

AUTHOR(S)
Dechmann, Dina K. N.; Wikelski, Martin; van Noordwijk, Hendrika J.; Voigt, Christian C.; Voigt-Heucke, Silke L.
PUB. DATE
April 2013
SOURCE
Frontiers in Physiology;Apr2014, Vol. 4, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The exploitation of information is a key adaptive behavior of social animals, and many animals produce costly signals to communicate with conspecifics. In contrast, bats produce ultrasound for auto-communication, i.e., they emit ultrasound calls and behave in response to the received echo. However, ultrasound echolocation calls produced by non-flying bats looking for food are energetically costly. Thus, if they are produced in a non-foraging or navigational context this indicates an energetic investment, which must be motivated by something. We quantified the costs of the production of such calls, in stationary, non-foraging lesser bulldog bats (Noctilio albiventris) and found metabolic rates to increase by 0.021 ± 0.001 J/pulse (mean ± standard error). From this, we estimated the metabolic rates of N. albiventris when responding with ultrasound echolocation calls to playbacks of echolocation calls from familiar and unfamiliar conspecific as well as heterospecific bats. Lesser bulldog bats adjusted their energetic investment to the social information contained in the presented playback. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that in addition to orientation and foraging, ultrasound calls in bats may also have function for active communication.
ACCESSION #
95951267

 

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