Bats vocalize extensively within different social contexts. The type and extent of information conveyed via their vocalizations and their perceptual significance, however, remains controversial and difficult to assess. Greater tube-nosed bats, M. leucogaster, emit calls consisting of long rectangular broadband noise burst (rBNBl) syllables during aggression between males. To experimentally test the behavioral impact of these sounds for feeding, we deployed an approach and place-preference paradigm. Two food trays were placed on opposite sides and within different acoustic microenvironments, created by sound playback, within a specially constructed tent. Specifically, we tested whether the presence of rBNBl sounds at a food source effectively deters the approach of male bats in comparison to echolocation sounds and white noise. In each case, contrary to our expectation, males preferred to feed at a location where rBNBl sounds were present. We propose that the species-specific rBNBl provides contextual information, not present within noncommunicative sounds, to facilitate approach towards a food source.
- Received September 16, 2016.
- Accepted October 31, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
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