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Abstract

The neotropical vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) echolocate using ultrasonic pulses like those of the Latin American phyllostomatid bats. In this paper the orally produced echolocation sounds of Desmodus are analysed and the performance of the echolocation system is studied in two-choice training experiments on two vampire bats. Ability to detect objects is relatively limited; both animals were capable of discerning the presence of a 1 cm wide metal strip at a distance of 50 cm, but they failed with 0.5 cm wide strips. The ultrasonic pulses produced at a distance of 50 cm appear to sample an area with a diameter of 2.5 to 3.0 cm (i. e., the solid angle tested with each pulse is 3° to 3° 40′ in extent).