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J Exp Biol. 2005 Apr;208(Pt 7):1321-7.

Echolocation call intensity in the aerial hawking bat Eptesicus bottae (Vespertilionidae) studied using stereo videogrammetry.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.


Aerial hawking bats use intense echolocation calls to search for insect prey. Their calls have evolved into the most intense airborne animal vocalisations. Yet our knowledge about call intensities in the field is restricted to a small number of species. We describe a novel stereo videogrammetry method used to study flight and echolocation behaviour, and to measure call source levels of the aerial hawking bat Eptesicus bottae (Vespertilionidae). Bats flew close to their predicted minimum power speed. Source level increased with call duration; the loudest call of E. bottae was at 133 dB peSPL. The calculated maximum detection distance for large flying objects (e.g. large prey, conspecifics) was up to 21 m. The corresponding maximum echo delay is almost exactly the duration of one wing beat in E. bottae and this also is its preferred pulse interval. These results, obtained by using videogrammetry to track bats in the field, corroborate earlier findings from other species from acoustic tracking methods.

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