Feeding behaviour of the bats Nycteris grandis and Nycteris thebaica (Nycteridae) in captivity



The feeding and hunting behaviour of Nycteris grandis and N. thebaica was observed in captivity at the Sengwa Wildlife Research Area in Zimbabwe in January and February 1982. Both species preferentially selected katydids and beetles over moths, and relied heavily on acoustic stimuli emanating from prey to detect targets. Nycteris grandis readily consumed frogs and bats and appeared not to use the calls of male frogs or the echolocation calls of other bats to locate prey. Both species produced echolocation calls during attacks on prey, increasing the rates of pulse repetition as they closed with targets and suggesting the use of echolocation in hunting. The echolocation calls of N. grandis are described along with general observations of the behaviour of both species.