1 Tahrcountry Musings: Bats Can Recognize the Voices of Others of their Genre

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bats Can Recognize the Voices of Others of their Genre

According to a new study by researchers from the University of Tuebingen, Germany and the University of Applied Sciences in Konstanz, Germany, bats have the ability to recognize each other using voice cues.

The experiments were done on greater mouse-eared bats (Myotis myotis). The researchers first tested the ability of bats to distinguish between the echolocation calls of other bats. Next in line was development of a computer model that reproduces the recognition behaviour of the bats. The researchers after extensive trials and observations concluded that signals contains individual-specific information that allows one bat to recognize another. The analysis showed that each bat has a typical distribution in the frequencies it emits, probably a result of the differences in each animal's vocal chords.

According to the researchers the ability to use these continuously emitted calls for recognition might facilitate many of the social behaviours observed in bats. The comparison of the bats with the model strongly implies that the bats are using a prototype classification approach: they learn the average call characteristics of individuals and use them as a reference for classification.

The bats required 15–24 days before they were able to correctly recognize the individuals in more than 75% of the trials.

Details of the research appear in the journal PLoS Computational Biology.


The Voice of Bats: How Greater Mouse-eared Bats Recognize Individuals Based on Their Echolocation Calls Yossi Yovel1, Mariana Laura Melcon1, Matthias O. Franz2, Annette Denzinger1, Hans-Ulrich Schnitzler1
1 Animal Physiology, Institute for Neurobiology, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany, 2 University of Applied Sciences, Konstanz, Germany

1 comment:

Santhi Raghavan said...

Thank you Mohan