Variations in the echolocation calls of the European free-tailed bat


Sarah Bayefsky-Anand. Current address: Harvard University, 1092 Harvard Yard Mail Center, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


The echolocation calls of Tadarida teniotis were studied in an outdoor flight enclosure (captive individuals) and in the wild using single microphones or an array of four microphones. Calls were characterized by measures of 10 call variables. Comparison of individual calls recorded on four microphones arrayed in a tetrahedron with 1 m between each microphone revealed that all calls were not equally detectable by all microphones but that there were no significant differences in call features obtained from calls recorded on all four microphones. A comparison of 47 calls recorded by all four microphones showed no significant differences in the features of the four recordings of each call. Analysis of calls of five individuals flying individually in an outdoor flight cage revealed significant individual differences in call features. In the field, T. teniotis used long, narrowband search-phase calls, usually without harmonics. Analysis of 1876 search-phase echolocation calls of T. teniotis recorded in the field in Israel and Greece in 2002, 2005 and 2006 showed significant year-to-year and site-to-site differences in some call features. When flying in the presence of conspecifics, T. teniotis changed their echolocation calls. We found a range of different buzzes in the wild, and based on their structure we attempted to classify them as feeding and social buzzes. The features of individual calls comprising buzzes differed significantly among buzzes, and yet there were no consistent differences between what we classified as feeding and social buzzes.