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Keywords:

  • acoustic identification;
  • Anabat;
  • bats;
  • Chiroptera;
  • diversity assessment;
  • inventory;
  • Neotropics

ABSTRACT

An ongoing study is being conducted to test the efficacy of the Anabat II detector and analysis system in obtaining reliable vocal signatures for the identification of non–phyllostomid species of bats. We sampled a wide range of elevations and associated habitat types throughout Belize. Anabat provides an instantaneous output of echolocation call structure with a laptop computer. Select sequences can be saved directly to the hard drive, avoiding extraneous noise and sound distortion commonly associated with tape recorders. To date, 18 of the 37 species known or expected to occur in the study region were identified by recognizable differences in the time–frequency characteristics of echolocation calls. In general, each family is recognizable by call structure patterns and species readily separated by frequency range parameters. Species that commute or forage at high altitudes are not susceptible to capture but are conspicuous by acoustic sampling. Further work is needed to determine limitations of the equipment, establish better sampling procedures, and develop a comprehensive library of vocal signatures incorporating the range of variation inherent in each species. As this work progresses, we predict the addition of hitherto unknown species occurring within the study region.