Do you hear what I hear?

A cartoon by Kim of two bats listening to each other. The captions reads "lets' go listen to Wendy and Phyllis. I bet they found good bugs tonight."
It’s difficult to find a photograph of bats listening to each other in the middle of the night. Please enjoy this cartoon with some of Kim’s bats!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! I am excited that Winter Break is coming soon. Sadly, I have to wait another week to get my vacation.

I found a very interesting article on bats regarding their hunting strategies and how they vary from species to species. An international group of biologists set out to compare five different bat species. They studied a total of 94 bats. The scientists fixed each bat with a tiny recording device to look at their flight path and listen to what noises they made. The researchers used this information to discover where the bats found food and whether or not other bats were nearby. They looked at 2 species of bats that hunted socially for prey, such as swarms of insects or fish, who are found in unpredictable locations. Then they looked at three species that foraged for food alone and whose prey was always at the same location and could be found easily.

The bats that foraged alone ate things like fruit and tried to separate themselves from others. If other bats were around it could create a competition for food. The bats that foraged together were much more social. The researchers found that these bats tended to eavesdrop on the other bats feeding calls and were constantly communicating with others of their own species to see if they had found food. When one bat found food to eat, others followed close behind and hunted behind them. In order to test if the bats were truly hunting together for the food, the scientists placed three recording devices around where the bats hunted. One recording device played white noise, one played a normal bat call, and one played a bat’s feeding call. When the bats heard the white noise, they mainly ignored the recording. When they heard the normal call they began to investigate, but it wasn’t anything special to them. However, when the bats heard the feeding noises, they began dive bombing the speakers!

The researchers would like to continue their studies by investigating the strategies social bats use for foraging. If you would like to read more about this study, you can read about it here .

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