Acoustic perception of landscape elements by the pond bat (Myotis dasycneme)

Authors

  • Ben Verboom,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Forestry and Nature Research, P.O. Box 23, NL-6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
    2. Agricultural University, Department of Terrestrial Ecology and Nature Conservation, P.O. Box 338, NL-6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
      All correspondence to: B. Verboom, Institute for Forestry and Nature Research, P.O. Box 23, NL-6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands. E-mail b.verboom@ibn.dlo.nl
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Arjan M. Boonman,

    1. Agricultural University, Department of Terrestrial Ecology and Nature Conservation, P.O. Box 338, NL-6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Current address: School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG, U.K.

  • Herman J. G. A. Limpens

    1. Netherlands Bat Research Foundation, Lutherse Burgwal 24, NL-2512 CB 's Gravenhage, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author

All correspondence to: B. Verboom, Institute for Forestry and Nature Research, P.O. Box 23, NL-6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands. E-mail b.verboom@ibn.dlo.nl

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that echolocating bats use landscape elements as acoustic landmarks. We predicted that bats should be able to perceive distant landscape elements using echolocation and hence change their echolocation behaviour in relation to these elements. Echolocation parameters of commuting pond bats Myotis dasycneme (Boie, 1825) were related to the bats' distance from banks of different sized canals. Pulse durations emitted while bats flew over canals of 13, 19, and 25 m wide increased successively. Interpulse intervals were equally long at 13, 19, and 25 m wide canals, but significantly longer at a 30 m wide canal. The mean interpulse interval used by bats flying along the midline of the 30 m wide canal was just sufficiently long to prevent overlap of an echo from the canal bank and a new outgoing pulse. The results indicate that pond bats perceive the canal banks by gradually adapting their pulse emissions to the distance to the banks. This suggests a role for the banks as acoustic landmarks.

Ancillary