oa African Zoology - Echolocation calls of twenty southern African bat species

Volume 34, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Echolocation data and sonograms are reported for twenty southern African bat species from 13 localities, recorded with the Pettersson D980 time-expansion bat detector. Data for eight species have not previously been reported. For seven species, two or more individuals were analysed in a range of situations, including handheld. tethered and free-flying (in a room and in different natural habitats). Sonograms, and seven echolocation call parameters agreed, with a few exceptions, with published data for individual species. Although intraspecific variation in echolocation call structure was documented, species tended to have recognisable 'vocal signatures', particularly when dominant frequency and harmonic structure were considered. The latter variables are readily retrieved by time expansion detectors, but not by frequency division or heterodyne detectors, Although generally they should be interpreted with caution, recordings from room-flown (five species) and hand-held (six species) bats obtained during this study matched, reasonably closely, additional recordings and observations of naturally flying individuals of the same species, using time expansion and heterodyne bat detectors. In four species, recordings obtained from a known species flying in a room or hand-held enabled the accurate, a posteriori species identification of unknown call sequences obtained during subsequent general recordings from bat feeding areas.

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