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J Chem Ecol. 2002 Apr;28(4):819-34.

Potential use of chemical cues for colony-mate recognition in the big brown bat, Eptesicus fuscus.

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Department of Biology, Boston University, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Bats should benefit from recognition of their roost-mates when colonies form stable social units that persist over time. We used Y-maze experiments and gas chromatography-olfactometry (GC-O) to evaluate whether female big brown bats Eptesicus fuscus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) use chemical cues to distinguish among conspecifics. In dual-choice Y-maze experiments, females chose the scent of another female from their own roost over a conspecific female from a different roost in a majority of trials. Analysis of total body odors using GC-O suggests that individuals from a given colony may share a more common odor signature with roost-mates than with non-roost-mate conspecifics. Using four principle components derived from 15 odor variables, discriminant function analysis correctly assigned most individuals to the correct colony.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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