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ISR researcher finds bats are quieter in groups

The web site Live Science reports that bats flying in groups do not use their echolocating voices as often as bats flying solo. Recent research by Professor Cynthia Moss (Psychology/ISR), ISR Graduate Research Assistant Chen Chiu, and Psychology Faculty Research Assistant Wei Xian found that in groups, up to 76 percent of the time at least one bat is quiet for more than 0.2 seconds.

"It doesn't sound like a long time, does it?" Moss told Live Science. "But in bat time, 0.2 seconds is a long time. Typically they're producing sounds with intervals of maybe 0.02 to 0.05 seconds."

The scientists can't be sure the bats' periods of hush were intended to avoid misjudging and flying into things, but it seems like a reasonable conclusion, Moss said. "It's also possible that they're trying to sneak up on the other one, showing some stealth behavior. Or they may be trying to save energy. But it seems like the most likely or dominant reason would be to minimize the jamming, and that’s because they tend to do it more when their signals are more similar."

Read the story at the Live Science website.

August 26, 2008


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