Absence of Jamming Avoidance and Flight Path Similarity in Paired Bent-Winged Bats, Miniopterus Fuliginosus
Kazuma Hase*, Saori Sugihara**, Seiya Oka***, and Shizuko Hiryu***
*Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University
Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
**Graduate School of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University
1-3 Tatara-miyakodani, Kyotanabe, Kyoto 610-0321, Japan
***Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University
1-3 Tatara-miyakodani, Kyotanabe, Kyoto 610-0321, Japan
Echolocating bats perceive their surroundings by listening to the echoes of self-generated ultrasound pulses. When multiple conspecifics fly in close proximity to each other, sounds emitted from nearby individuals could mutually interfere with echo reception. Many studies suggest that bats employ frequency shifts to avoid spectral overlap of pulses with other bats. Technical constraints in recording technology have made it challenging to capture subtle changes in the pulse characteristics of bat calls. Therefore, how bats change their behavior to extract their own echoes in the context of acoustic interference remains unclear. Also, to our best knowledge, no studies have investigated whether individual flight paths change when other bats are present, although movements likely reduce acoustic masking. Here, we recorded the echolocation pulses of bats flying alone or in pairs using telemetry microphones. Flight trajectories were also reconstructed using stereo camera recordings. We found no clear tendency to broaden individual differences in the acoustic characteristics of pulses emitted by pairs of bats compared to bats flying alone. However, some bats showed changes in pulse characteristics when in pairs, which suggests that bats can recognize their own calls based on the initial differences in call characteristics between individuals. In addition, we found that the paired bats spend more time flying in the same directions than in the opposite directions. Besides, we found that the flight paths of bats were more similar in “paired flight trials” than in virtual pairs of paired flight trials. Our results suggest that the bats tend to follow the other bat in paired flight. For the following bat, acoustic interference may be reduced, while the opportunity to eavesdrop on other bats’ calls may be increased.
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