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Singing strategies are linked to perch use on foraging territories in heart-nosed bats
  • Grace Smarsh,
  • Ashley Long,
  • Michael Smotherman
Grace Smarsh
Weizmann Institute of Science
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Ashley Long
Louisiana State University
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Michael Smotherman
Texas A&M University
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Abstract

Acoustic communication allows animals to coordinate and optimize resource utilization in space. Cardioderma cor, the heart-nosed bat, is one of the few species of bats known to sing during nighttime foraging. Previous research found that heart-nosed bats react aggressively to song playback, supporting the territorial defense hypothesis of singing in this species. By tracking 14 individuals nightly during the dry seasons in Tanzania we further investigated the territorial defense hypothesis from an ecological standpoint, which predicts singing should be associated with exclusive areas containing a resource. We quantified the singing behavior of individuals at all perches used throughout the night. Using home range analysis tools, we quantified overall use night ranges and singing ranges, as well as areas used in early and later time periods at night. Males engaged in antiphonal singing from small (x̄ = 3.48 ± 2.71 ha), largely exclusive areas that overlapped with overall night ranges used for gleaning prey. Individuals varied in singing effort; however, all sang significantly more as night progressed. Subsequently, areas used earlier at night and overall use areas were both larger than singing areas. Individuals varied in singing strategies. Some males sang for long periods in particular trees and had smaller core areas, while others moved frequently among singing trees. The most prolific singers used more perches overall. The results support the hypothesis that acoustic communication repertoires evolved in support of stable foraging territory advertisement and defense in some bats.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

12 Jul 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
13 Jul 2021Assigned to Editor
13 Jul 2021Submission Checks Completed
19 Jul 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
27 Aug 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor