Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Ecol Evol. 2006 Mar;21(3):149-56. Epub 2006 Feb 8.

The evolution of echolocation in bats.

Author information

School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1UG, UK.


Recent molecular phylogenies have changed our perspective on the evolution of echolocation in bats. These phylogenies suggest that certain bats with sophisticated echolocation (e.g. horseshoe bats) share a common ancestry with non-echolocating bats (e.g. Old World fruit bats). One interpretation of these trees presumes that laryngeal echolocation (calls produced in the larynx) probably evolved in the ancestor of all extant bats. Echolocation might have subsequently been lost in Old World fruit bats, only to evolve secondarily (by tongue clicking) in this family. Remarkable acoustic features such as Doppler shift compensation, whispering echolocation and nasal emission of sound each show multiple convergent origins in bats. The extensive adaptive radiation in echolocation call design is shaped largely by ecology, showing how perceptual challenges imposed by the environment can often override phylogenetic constraints.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center