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Can pipistrelles, Pipistrellus pipistrellus (Schreber, 1774) and Pipistrellus pygmaeus (Leach, 1825), foraging in a group, change parameters of their signals?


Tomáš Bartonička, Institute of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic.


Echolocation behaviour and the structure of calls of Pipistrellus pygmaeus and Pipistrellus pipistrellus were studied by using a time expansion bat detector. Echolocation signals were recorded in the field in south-eastern Moravia and northern Bohemia (Czech Republic) and in an ad hoc experimental laboratory. For each of the species, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) indicated significant differences in calls produced inside the experimental room and in the open. Paired t-tests and MANOVA were also used to reveal influences of interindividual contacts in each of the cryptic species on the spectral patterns of call variables. Differences were found in the spectral variables of echolocation calls of an individual flying in the room alone and in a group of conspecifics. The possibility that bats use their flexibility to avoid mutual disturbances of echolocation calls was tested. We found that bats flying in a group modify the parameters of their echolocation signals according to the presence of other individuals of the same species. These differences can indicate jamming avoidance and recognition of own echoes. However, they did not change the parameters if individuals of another species were present. Social calls are more numerous when bats fly in a mixed-species group than in a monospecific group.