The effect of familiarity on echolocation in the megachiropteran bat Rousettus aegyptiacus

Richard A. Holland, Dean A. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Much is known about the way bats adjust their echolocation behaviour in response to environmental structure or to locate insect prey. By contrast, little is known about how echolocation calls are modulated in response to familiarity of the environment and objects within it. Here we show that the echolocating Megachiropteran bat Rousettus aegyptiacus produces echolocation signals at the same rate whether an obstacle is predictable or unpredictable in location, but that it has a reduced rate of echolocation signal production in a familiar environment with no obstacle present. This suggests that signal production is reduced in a familiar environment absent of `clutter' but that probing the environment for maximum information is more important for this species than minimizing any cost of probing the environment in a cluttered space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1064
Number of pages12
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Rousettus aegyptiacus
  • Familiarity
  • Echolocation
  • Bats

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