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Trends Ecol Evol. 1989 Jun;4(6):160-6. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(89)90120-1.

Foraging ecology and audition in echolocating bats.

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Zoologisches Institut der Universität München, Luisenstrasse 14, 8 München 2, FRG.


The types of echolocation signal and the auditory capacities of echolocating bats are adapted to specific acoustical constraints of the foraging areas. Bats hunting insects above the canopy use low frequencies for echolocation; this is an adaptation to prey detection over long distances. Bats foraging close to and within foliage avoid masking of insect echoes by specializing on 'fluttering target' detection. 'Gleaning' bats are adapted to the auditory detection of very faint noises generated by ground-dwelling prey, and are capable of analysing fine changes in the echo spectrum, which may indicate a stationary prey changing its posture on a substrate. This review of recent research demonstrates that, in bats, foraging ecology and audition are intricately interrelated and interdependent.

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