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Keywords:

  • echolocation;
  • species identification;
  • artificial neural networks;
  • New Zealand;
  • bats

Abstract

Time-expanded and heterodyned echolocation calls of the New Zealand long-tailed Chalinolobus tuberculatus and lesser short-tailed bat Mystacina tuberculata were recorded and digitally analysed. Temporal and spectral parameters were measured from time-expanded calls and power spectra generated for both time-expanded and heterodyned calls. Artificial neural networks were trained to classify the calls of both species using temporal and spectral parameters and power spectra as input data. Networks were then tested using data not previously seen. Calls could be unambiguously identified using parameters and power spectra from time-expanded calls. A neural network, trained and tested using power spectra of calls from both species recorded using a heterodyne detector set to 40 kHz (the frequency with the most energy of the fundamental of C. tuberculatus call), could identify 99% and 84% of calls of C. tuberculatus and M. tuberculata, respectively. A second network, trained and tested using power spectra of calls from both species recorded using a heterodyne detector set to 27 kHz (the frequency with the most energy of the fundamental of M. tuberculata call), could identify 34% and 100% of calls of C. tuberculatus and M. tuberculata, respectively. This study represents the first use of neural networks for the identification of bats from their echolocation calls. It is also the first study to use power spectra of time-expanded and heterodyned calls for identification of chiropteran species. The ability of neural networks to identify bats from their echolocation calls is discussed, as is the ecology of both species in relation to the design of their echolocation calls.